Health and wellness issues dominated the Pierce College Council (PCC) discussion on Sept. 24 as members examined the most effective ways to help students during continued remote learning.
“We want to be offering types of programs that are in demand and being responsive to our community,” Pierce College President Alexis Montevirgen said.
In addition to the basic needs and food insecurities, emergency and technology funds are priorities to Vice President of Student Services Earic Dixon-Peters.
“It’s about communicating with students and letting them know we’re here for them,” Dixon-Peters said.
Students have been sent updates regarding housing, food and COVID-19 resources in the valley.
There are volunteer opportunities for individuals who want to get involved assisting the local homeless population.
“We are gathering a group of volunteers to train and participate in a problem-solving workshop training provided by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to help at-risk students to prevent homelessness and properly connect them with community resources,” Student Support Committee member Robert Loy said.
This does not exclude advocating for and supporting more cultural clubs on campus and educating students on topics such as racism and injustice through events.
“[This is] our commitment to culturally responsive programs as part of our equity and social justice,” Montevirgen said.
Diversity Committee Co-Chair Meagan Truxal has a calendar on the committee website which includes campus events along with culturally relevant holidays and the multicultural week taking place in the last week of October via Zoom.
“The first event will be a presentation on Islam and Islamophobia,” Truxal said. “She second, we have a transgender activist scheduled to speak. We are also working with the performing arts department. They will be having a performance called ‘Facing our Truth.’ The performance consists of 10 minute plays on race and privilege.”
Pierce is also attempting to be prepared for when a COVID-19 vaccine is available. By making use of this year’s flu vaccinations, COVID-19 vaccinations may be readily available to LACCD students.
“We are trying to get drive-in fly vaccinations on all locations so it’ll be a shoo-in for COVID vaccines eventually,” Director of Health Center Beth Benne said.
In addition, some lab classes are returning to campus. While there is an official process to approve which classes can be held in-person, classes have been identified as hard-to-convert, and have returned to campus.
“It’s been a while to try to identify the parameters for them [hard-to-convert classes] but it looks like they’re returning,” Dean of Academic Affairs Donna-Mae Villanueva said.
With enrollment 90% higher than this time last year, putting Pierce at the second highest in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) after Los Angeles City College, Montevirgen raised the question, “How can we continue to making our institution not just more open and welcoming, but more responsive?”