WCC Offers Wide Range of Student Activities
For some WCC students, Welcome Day in September is their first introduction to life on campus. Usually held shortly after classes begin, Welcome Day showcases a host of activities on campus that are open to everyone. A Welcome Day for Winter Semester will be held Wednesday, Jan. 27.
“We want students to be aware of the great clubs and organizations we have at the College, as well as activities like the Biggest Loser contest or Club Sports and The Washtenaw Voice that they can be a part of,” said Ian Griffin, director of Student Development and Activities. “Welcome Day sets the stage, so to speak, for a school year that can be both challenging and fun.”
All colleges support some form of campus life and WCC is no exception. With a population made up entirely of commuter students who spend less time on campus than four-year university students who reside in on-site dorms or student housing, Student Activities is always working on putting together the right mix of activities to create that kind of environment.
“You’d be surprised at the kind of activities we have helped with this past year,” said Rachel Barsch, events coordinator. “Students know us for the support networks we sponsor through student clubs and associations, but they may be surprised to learn that we help with activities that the students and faculty bring to us, such as the student nurses’ Go Red Day, the Poetry Club’s literary journals, and the lecture instructor Elisabeth Thoburn gave on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.
“We facilitate student volunteering and get involved in the community,” Barsch said. “We were big participants in the United Way Youth Day of Caring and serve on planning committees for such events as the Heart Association’s Heart Walk, which the College hosts each year. Next year we’ll have a team for the Relay for Life (sponsored by the American Cancer Society), and we’ll be big participants in the City of Ann Arbor’s Earth Day activities, which will be held on campus.”
According to Barsch, plans for 2010 are likely to include more on-campus activities similar to this year’s popular environmental lecture series sponsored by the students of Phi Theta Kappa and held at the Health & Fitness Center. And there may be more opportunities to connect with students of similar interests, like the interest in a Veteran’s Club generated in part by a special Veteran’s Day luncheon with President Larry Whitworth sponsored by Student Development and Activities.
“The annual Talent Show is a real fun event that provides an outlet for students in several academic departments, such as dance and music, to utilize what they’ve learned,” said Griffin. “It’s a great resume building experience. We have over 25-30 participants each year, with an audience between 300-400 people.
“In our way, we’re helping to educate students beyond the classroom,” he said. “We supplement what they learn in class through special events or through programs like Orchard Radio and The Washtenaw Voice. It’s not just books and tests: it’s making connections and building relationships, it’s creating shared experiences that will last a lifetime.”
One experience that seems to embody that objective was the trip this year to a natural habitat research center in northern Michigan owned by the University of Michigan.
“While fun outdoor activities were at the heart of the experience at the U-M Biological Station in Pellston, it was an incredible learning opportunity for our students,” Griffin said. “We toured the facilities, went on nature hikes, and hunted for morel mushrooms with U-M students who are involved in research projects year-round. We ate local organic foods. It was so much more than just a lesson in conservation.”
“And we’re always open to new ways in which to do that,” said Barsch. “We love it when a student approaches us and is so passionate about something that they want to help get it done. We want students to know that they can stop by our office on the first floor of the Student Center building and give us suggestions about what would make their time on campus better.”