OSA welcomes students back

To kick off the fall 2022 semester, Welcome Week was held, with a variety of oncampus activities for students to participate in. “So many JJC staff gave their time and energy to create an amazing week for our students and community,” said Dr. Amy Kuspa Sims, manager or student activities and wellness for the Office of Student Activities. “We focused on academic success, engagement, support services, and basic needs.” A school-wide scavenger hunt, block party, picnic in the grove, wellness day, and movie were among the events that took place. Different JJC offices helped throughout the week to organize specific events, and throughout the week, different faculty greeters and snack stations were at main entrances to campus. The Center for Multicultural Access & Success hosted the block party that took place on Tuesday, Aug. 23 of Welcome Week. The event included food trucks, inflatables, the 101.9 The Mix radio station, and information from other offices and departments at JJC. The block party, which ran from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., was attended by more than 500 people, with at least 400 students. “The goal was to welcome our students and college community back with a bang right in the front of the college seeing that we were returning back to campus post COVID. We wanted students and their families to learn more about the resources offered here at JJC,” said DeAndre Butler, senior director of CMAS. “Overall, CMAS is so thankful for the opportunity to lead this initiative and we really had a great time doing it. Our vision was to do something innovative, different and fun while still assisting our students navigate the first week of school and from all the great feedback, I think we can say our goal was accomplished.” Following Tuesday’s block party was the picnic in the grove on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Over 275 students came to the event, which had activities including karaoke and live music, stuffable critters, caricatures, and food. Also, different offices, departments, and JJC resources set up information tables for students to learn more about what JJC offers. The wellness day on Thursday also allowed students to learn more about mental health resources that JJC provides. Michael Liacone, Case Management Coordinator for the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, said “The goal of Wellness Day was to welcome students, new and returning, and introduce them to various coping skills, activities, and the services provided by the Student Mental Health & Wellness Program.” Crafts, a walking meditation hosted by the JJC Sustainability Union, therapy dogs from Alliance of Therapy Dogs, and virtual reality were among the activities at the event, which around 250 students attended. “We also rolled out the mental health survey created by the Student Trustee, Joshua Stamborski,” said Liacone. “This survey will help identify trends in mental health in our students so we can enhance our services to meet their needs.” If a student may be struggling with mental health concerns, food/housing issues, or anything else, the Student Mental Health & Wellness Program encourages staff, faculty, students, or other community members to fill out the Care Report. Those completing the Care Report can do so anonymously, and after the report is completed, the Student Mental Health & Wellness Program will reach out to the student and offer their services. The Care Report can be found at jjc.edu/ carereport. Concluding Welcome Week was a screening of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” the night of Friday, Aug. 26. This event was open to JJC students and their families and friends, and was attended by approximately 150 people. The Welcome Week events this year were a huge success for students and the different departments and offices of JJC. New and returning students felt the atmosphere surrounding campus and the events were welcoming and relaxed, which helped acclimate many students transitioning back to on-campus courses. “Large numbers of students participated and shared their gratitude and excitement with all of us,” said Kuspa Sims, agreeing that the events were a success. “It was a great way to start the new school year!”