First 100 Days: Days 31-60
Becoming a Knight: The first 60 days
The beginning of my second month as president was spent in Washington D.C. for a week with trustees Tamra Jackson, Wilma Cartagena, and Phylicia Hancock Lewis as we participated in the Community College National Legislative Summit to advocate for federal education dollars for Wenatchee Valley College and Washington state. During our visit, we met with Senator Maria Cantwell, Representative Dan Newhouse, and Representative Kim Schrier. We advocated for the American Association of Community Colleges and Association of Community College Trustees federal legislative priorities, which included a variety of programs within each of the following categories:
- Bolster the Role of Community Colleges in Workforce Development
- Fund Key Education and Workforce Programs
- Support DREAMers
- Reform Student Aid for Today’s Students
- Focus Student Tax Policy on Those Who Can Benefit Most
- Farm Bill
My week ended with Knight at the Wild at the Town Toyota Center, which was the first large-scale community event that I attended where WVC was a major sponsor and participant in the community. Collectively, the college had more than 100 students, staff, faculty, and administrators attend this local hockey tournament event. With the support of the WVC Foundation, student programs, student services, athletics, alumni, and volunteers, the event demonstrated the collaborative approach of campus and community engagement that I envisioned but had not witnessed until this point. What an amazing event for our students, employees, alumni, and members of the community.
This week was my third full week on campus and in the office without holidays, state, or national obligations that required me to be away. This time was invaluable and provided more opportunities to learn and participate more intimately with the many facets of the campus, and the priorities of the different communities that the college serves.
I returned to Lacey and Olympia to attend the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges (ACT) meetings. This included attending the Capital Budget Committee meetings as I am a new member. The committee reviewed the 2023-25 Capital Request for New Appropriations and reported on recommendations. Capital investments serve students and communities and there is an extensive list of major projects and minor works that represent most if not all colleges in Washington that warrant support for consideration.
I spent my last week predominantly at the Wenatchee campus and this was the first opportunity for me to attend a WVC Foundation board meeting. Agriculture faculty members Francisco Sarmiento, Jeff Bullock, and Frank Sarmiento-Torres provided a comprehensive overview and a tour of our on-campus facilities for the Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program (HOEEP) which is recognized throughout the state as one of the best. HOEEP also follows Washington’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Programs (I-BEST) model.
I was able to attend more campus and community events, including the “Do Good, Drink Beer” fundraiser that was sponsored by the WVC Foundation, and the annual Wenatchee Valley Chamber Banquet.
That Friday, I finished the week by attending the Laser Tag event in the evening. As a former faculty member, student services representative, and someone that believes that students’ curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular experiences should be the cornerstone of education, I could not have imagined ending my first 60 days in any other way, with students! A special thanks go out to ASWVC and Erin Tofte for sponsoring this event.