Ring in the New

By President Daniel M. Asquino

We ring in the new year at Mount Wachusett Community College not with the customary noisemakers of bells and horns, but with drills, hammers and saws as construction continues on our Gardner campus.

Your patience as you make your way to classrooms and offices during the modernization of our 45-year-old facility is greatly appreciated. In the coming months, renovations to our Advising Center, Commons Area, Theatre at the Mount, and main entrance will be unveiled, followed later this year by the opening of our new science and technology building.

Less obvious than these outwards signs of growth and improvement, but equally impressive, is the transformation taking place inside the classroom walls. New student support services, new faculty and staff, new transfer agreements, and new civic engagement initiatives will enhance our existing resources to help students build up their academic and career skills in preparation for the workforce or a bachelor’s degree.

The semester ahead provides opportunities to help students build up their résumés as well as increase understanding on national issues, including race, income inequality, and citizenship. Continuing programs through the office of Student Life include alternative spring break with Habitat for Humanity, the Leadership for Life workshop series, events commemorating Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

The Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement is the go-to place for hands-on experience through internships, volunteerism and service learning. Among the center’s upcoming offerings is a not-to-miss presentation on March 25 by Harvard political scientist and best-selling author Robert D. Putnam, through our involvement with the national “Citizenship Under Siege” program sponsored by the American Association of Colleges & Universities and The Democracy Commitment, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

In February, the MWCC Humanities Project continues its second year of programming with “Myths, Monsters, and Modern Science: Frankenstein’s Legacy,” an in-depth look at Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, and its relevance in today’s world. Free events will take place on the Gardner campus and in the community at public libraries and other venues, funded through a grant from the NEH to deepen and sustain quality humanities programming and curriculum throughout North Central Massachusetts.

The Division of Access and Transition is launching a Tea Time Speaker Series that will kick off on February 29 with a Men of Color panel presentation exploring the journey and obstacles of men of color in society, with an emphasis on professionals working in the field of healthcare.

With so much available in the months ahead, it’s important to keep sight of the main goals and reasons you are pursuing a college education. If you encounter obstacles that seem insurmountable, I urge you to tap into the many resources that are available to you on campus, including free tutoring, counseling and advising, scholarships and mentoring.

We’re here to help you succeed, and are glad you are with us during this exciting phase in Mount Wachusett’s history, which in turn, becomes part of your own story of growth and development.