Why I chose GCC…

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Looking back about 5 or 6 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be in the position I am in now. I’ve successfully completed 1 1/2 years of study at GCC, I was selected for the Dean’s list, I am part of the Leadership Certificate Program, and I am currently an Orientation Leader for our new students attending this fall. It seems that so much has happened in such a short span of time, but despite the initial “butterflies” back in the spring of 2013, I feel that I have come a long way.

While I work a full time job for Wegmans, I do my part time studies at GCC. Fortunately I have had this summer off, but previously I had literally spent the entire last year and a half almost non-stop with my studies. I am currently striving for a Computer Repair Certification, of which as a full time student it takes about 2 years to complete, doing it part time, my goal is about 3 1/2 years to complete it. At that point, I will re-assess what has happened up to and including that point, and perhaps I will go for a degree as well.

But going back to why I had chosen GCC. At the time prior, I was at a point in life where I was very unhappy with things. The years would come and go, I would see friends and coworkers come and go at Wegmans, and I just kept thinking “Nothing changes for me”, and “Life is just passing me by”. It took me about 3 years to make the commitment to become a student again. Now keep in mind, I had never gone to college before, although I had taken a few night classes over the years, of which included learning ASL, commonly known as American Sign Language, but since then I have pretty much lost what I have learned since it was many years ago. So prior to that, after I had graduated high school, I was just going from job to job over the years, of which seemed like an endless nightmare of no direction.

At the time I graduated, I had originally thought that I would take a year off and then go back, but when I had started to see what I would qualify for as far as financial aid and etc, I hit a roadblock since I was still living at home and unfortunately my parents made too much money for me to qualify for any sort of help. So as a result of so many set-backs, i pretty much put my life on hold, and consequentially let my life pass by.

At the encouragement of some good friends, and my girlfriend of many years, I decided to take the plunge and give college life a try. Little did I know what was ahead, and yes I was pretty nervous at first. “What am I doing??” and “I must be crazy for doing this” were 2 things that had come to mind as I remember. I’m not much of a risk taker by any means, but I decided that I wouldn’t know anything unless I at least tried and gave it the best shot possible. The rewards thus far have greatly outweighed the risks that I had calculated in my brain.

So as my time At GCC transpires, I look forward to each step along the way, and I embrace the changes in life that will eventually come. New challenges equal new opportunities. My only regret is not having come to the realization sooner. Yes, I may have some regrets,  but in the same instance, if I hadn’t taken the chance like I did, those regrets would become more prominent, and my life would not have any meaning to it. I now have a clear direction, and will continue to follow wherever this path may take me.

 

Making the Call

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Original Article by Joanne Beck of the Daily News

Blue light phones are placed on campus at Genesee Community College for use during emergency situations. The phones automatically connect the caller with Campus Security. GCC officials believe the phones, video monitoring and the small campus atmosphere have kept dating and domestic violence incidents down at the Batavia campus.

Officials at GCC have begun to tally accounts of stalking, dating violence and domestic violence for a report to be filed this fall, Associate Vice President for Human Resources Gina Weaver says. Although GCC has dealt head-on with such incidents and making referrals for help, there is now one more layer to the task, she said.

“And also the education of what your resources are, the services that are available, that you have resources both internally in the college and externally, and education of what is consent, what are the different phases of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, along with the definition of it.” Weaver explained.

The state Education Department has proposed a new rule as part of the Clery Act (which requires colleges to report crime statistics on/near their campus) to provide more thorough numbers and give a better picture of how many of these incidents are happening on college campuses.

Though this change, which is to take effect in 2015, means more work for college officials, it has also prodded GCC to offer more social education to students.

“It does bring it to the next level. Title IX has some stipulations that require college campuses to follow … to make good faith efforts to provide resources to individuals that are affected by sexual assault, sexual misconduct, those types of things,” Weaver said. “We have the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook and a lot of the information will be in that. It’s being updated now as a result of this.”

There will also be similar workshops given during orientation and throughout the year, she said.

Resources on campus include the counseling center and counselors in the Dean of Students Office for one-on-one consultation and the campus safety office. As for off-campus assistance, counselors will typically make referrals for students to visit Restore Sexual Assault Services, YWCA’s Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services and Genesee County Mental Health.

 Incidents can be reported to a counselor, a campus safety officer or other college official, a College Village Resident Assistant or by calling 911.

New to the college’s agenda will be including dating violence in its crime statistics. They have been documented but not totaled for comparative use. Numbers for 2013 will be posted online by Oct. 1 and each year will be available from now on, she said.

A new training program being considered for the 2014-15 school year is about bystander prevention. That would offer tips for what to do if one sees some type of sexual assault or sexual misconduct. Students would learn about how to intervene and knowing that it’s OK to do so.

Another training is one that Weaver believes should be more widespread. It’s focused on men and their roles in dating violence.

“To me, that’s the population you need to reach. When you think about sexual assault, we tend to gear all our education toward females: don’t walk alone, watch out about what you drink, make sure to go to a party with someone else,” she said. “When is somebody going to tell the males that it’s not appropriate? Where’s all the education for them?”

GCC’s student population can count on getting such lessons in the near future.

It’s crucial to get people talking about this issue and to stop blaming the victim. The perpetrator needs to be responsible for the crime, she said.

She agreed that education geared for men is every bit as important as those tips for women. By being told not to walk alone or having other good social behaviors, women victims often get the message that “I must be doing something wrong.” That’s not the case, she said.

“GCC has always been really good in education and outreach and in supporting victims,” Theresa Asmus-Roth, Restore area supervisor said. “My biggest concern is those schools that do the best job of … addressing these issues head on may have the most frightening numbers, because people feel safe to report.”

She sees about a handful of GCC students each year, which isn’t reflective of how many referrals are made. Many victims don’t follow through after talking to a college counselor, she said. And there may yet be others that don’t even go to the counselor.

Part of that is due to the professional not always knowing that a client is a student and that the incident was domestic or dating violence. Vallett has done case management for YW’s Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services program, including visits to GCC.

YW Executive Director Jeanne Walton would like to strengthen her agency’s collaboration with GCC in order to best serve victims. “We want to provide services to students who need them, but we can’t do that if we don’t know about all of the domestic violence related incidents,” Walton said.

GCC’s safety director was hired last year and upgraded more recently to serve as a peace officer, which gives him the power to make on-campus arrests, Weaver said. There are six full-time safety officers plus seven part-time that work shifts for 24/7 coverage throughout the campus, including College Village.

There are also video monitors and emergency blue light phones throughout campus to help deter crime and help victims connect to campus security immediately.

Fall 2014 Civil War Lecture Series Line-up Announced

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gccblogs:

It’s back again! The Civil War Lecture Series!

Originally posted on GCC GLOW Region Civil War Initiative:

BATAVIA – Now entering it’s fourth year, the popular GCC Civil War Lecture Series continues this fall with a great line-up of speakers and topics. In revealing the fall schedule Derek Maxfield, assistant professor of history at GCC and coordinator of the Civil War Initiative, commented “this is going to be a great line-up of strong and popular speakers.” In fact, the famous Civil War historian Ed Bearrs once said of Chris Mackowski’s lecture that it was “One of the best talks I’ve ever heard!” Mackowski, a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure, will lead off the fall line-up with “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson” on Sept 3rd. This particular lecture had been scheduled for the spring of 2014, but had been postponed due to inclement weather.

The full line-up includes:

Sept. 3rd. – “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson” with Dr. Chris Mackowski, St. Bonaventure…

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That First Day

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When I first came to GCC, I afraid of meeting new people. I grew up in a small town, and graduated with the same 90 other kids that started 7th grade with me. It was strange to think that I would never see some of them again, and also hard to know that for the most part I wouldn’t really see many of them who did come to GCC, as my major put me in a separate field and the opposite end of the building as most of my friends.

However scared I was that first day, it disappeared rather quickly as I began to hang out with a few classmates, who like me came in early to get a parking space. I found out that one of the best ways to get through class is to make friends with at least the people near you when you sit down. There are many reasons behind that fact of life.

  • Reason 1: you never know just when your pen will chose to die or go missing.
  • Reason 2: teachers are tricky and have a tendency to make you talk to each other to go over papers or during review sessions.
  • Reason 3: if you miss class, they can help you catch up.

So don’t be afraid to say hi to that person in the desk next you, chances are you’ll need their help down the road!

…And Now I’m Here

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When I decided to come to GCC last spring I honestly had no idea what was in store for me. I didn’t exactly plan on going out of my way to join any clubs or organizations. I had already been out of school for four years at that point and I wasn’t interested in having the entire college experience. To be honest I was more concerned with getting a degree and getting out of here.

When I began classes however I found that this all quickly changed. I had Dr. Tom C. Priester for First Year Experience (FYE 100) and I suddenly found myself involved in campus activities. (Anyone who knows him knows that he has a way of making this sort of thing happen) I joined the Leadership Certificate Program and that lead me to becoming an orientation leader. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to become involved on campus and how accepting all the different people were.

You know in high school how your teachers are always telling you “wait until you’re in college! Its going to be 10 times harder.” I haven’t found that to be true yet. Yes, the work is harder, but as a student you are also more advanced. Plus the people in college are all in different places in their lives and they don’t have time to deal with menial high school drama. They all just get along and that was something amazingly refreshing to me.

Going into Orientation Leader training I had no clue what to expect. I thought that it would be impossible to make friends in the three short days we spent together before our first orientation. But here I sit on the eve of our first session feeling confident in not only my ability but our teams ability to help new students feel welcomed coming into GCC. It’s amazing how the energy and people grow on campus. Its almost like our own little world here to just be accepted for who we are, not for our past or future actions. It’s a place for growth and learning and for the most part everyone wants to be here.

I know some people are disappointed when they have to come to a community college as opposed to a four year school but I think that GCC does a great job in keeping the hometown feel but still giving students the full college experience. So if you were to ask me, I would say go for it! Take a leap of faith, ask someone in class to hang out, join that club you were always interested in, study abroad. After all there’s no time better than the present.

What’s in Batavia?

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The question is, what is there in the community? Batavia seems so small compared to the other cities that are surrounding it. Look at Rochester or Buffalo or even go so far to look at New York City. Batavia could not have anything that is even remotely close to what any of those cities have.

Most people are right when they have this feeling, because they think that there is no comparison and they are right! But not for the reasons that they think. Batavia does have a lot, on the outside it looks like just a small town, but it really is big if you think to venture out and see what it has to offer.

You can find people anywhere in Batavia that have stories to tell about what has happened in this little city. Stories that most people would not even believe!

You can travel to any little diner, or better yet volunteer at the Veterans Administration. You will not only learn about Batavia but you will learn about life and the world around you. The people here could tell you happy stories or their childhood that make you smile or tell you horror stories about war that would make you cry. They know what they’re talking about, and they protected you from that horror.

If that is not enough and you still don’t believe that a little city like Batavia is sweet, If you think that those big cities have all that has to offer, ask someone in that city how to tie an eight knot, or how to milk a cow, do they know how to hunt? Probably not! If you travel to this little city you will find such a person, here, in Batavia. They are there, they will even teach you if you want to learn, just remember to ask them nicely. Can you find that in the Big Apple or maybe even Rochester?

Adventure capital of the world?? … yes please.

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So I left my mothers house in Houston to start the adventure to my sisters place in .. MOAB UTAH! A tiny little town in the Southwest of the state that surrounds the Colorado River and Green River. It’s the adventure capital of the world! Many people come here to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park that sit right outside the town. I drove for two days to get to Grand Junction, Colorado where I stopped for a day to do a project for my Anthropology class. I was to do an observation a few times, so I decided to make my observations at a nudist event. I found some people who have been featured in a magazine for their nudist wedding, and have also been featured on TV many times for their “Naked Gardening Day.” So I met with Carla and Guy, the nudists who were very nice people. After the observations, we talked for hours about life and how important it is to be free and become who we wish to be, regardless of what society says. It was defiantly an experience I will never forget.

In my high school, for one of my senior projects, (2012) I had to create a vacation with 750 dollars and give a presentation with the things I did, what I ate, etc. I never heard of Moab until then, and as I was doing the project I was hearing of it constantly. In my project I came to Moab for a week and went skydiving, rafted, and camped. When graduation came around, my sister told me she was going to help her friend move out west for a bit. Coincidentally, she was helping him move to Moab, Utah. She ended up staying there because she loved it so much. Strange coincidence or what?? She had also never heard of it before my project.

So after Grand Junction, I started on the road again. 250 miles of desert… BRING IT ON! I put the top down in my VW, filled a bowl of water in the back for my dog, and off we went in search of the second most scenic route in North America, route 128. Before the real great scenery started, we drove through a ghost town of Cisco. It has the smallest post office in the U.S., and that’s about it besides the Green River and some train tracks. It was going to be the capital at one point. Obviously that didn’t happen.

When we started to get into the canyons, it was the most beautiful landscape I ever seen… and I’ve seen a lot. 150 miles of a very curvy road that followed the Colorado River. Deep red rock cliffs on both sides of me with the occasional rock formation. Once I got to Moab, I found my sisters house. I’ve been staying here for about a week now. Doing my school work, as well as hiking, going on 4×4 tours with my sisters boyfriend, (they own a company of 4×4 tours) and venturing off on the Colorado River. When my sister does her office hours, I do my school work. I’ve been really good about it, not procrastinating or anything, but any chance I get, we’re going off into the desert, or hanging out with the locals. Everyone who lives here are very adventurous people, mostly guides for white water rafting (that’s what my sister did before she was with Xtreme4x4Tours) hiking, repelling, slack line, zip line, skydiving, you name it, they do it. I have figured out that you can tell the locals from the tourists by their tan. All the locals have sunglasses tan, and the tourists are usually just burnt.

There is a such a great history of the Native Americans here, too. There are petroglyphs that are 1200 years old everywhere, but you have to know where to look, and stone piles up in the rocks where they used to store their food by the river, and deeper in the canyon, you can see their homes that are built into mini caves..Very deep in the desert there are little shacks that are very hidden. Cowboys used to hide in them! Real cowboys, and there are still things in them, salt shakers, spoons, etc. I have an assignment coming up that I would like to do on the Native Americans here, the Kokopelli! I also did my Meteorology exam and passed it with flying colors, I’m good with my CEP class. I haven’t really hit any challenges yet, besides resisting all the great Mexican food! Its really cool to be able to compare what I am learning in my Meteorology class, and put it to real life use here. Many different types of scientists and geologists come here to study the area. I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be staying here, but I think I’ll be here for a little bit.