At Downtown College Preparatory (DCP), college is not always the norm for students. Most students are first-generation, meaning their parents did not attend college. Many of them do not know a whole lot about college and the opportunities thats comes with pursuing a higher education.
Tutoring at DCP has reminded me to never take my education for granted. Often times, many college students forget how much of a privilege college is. We forget that being able to choose your own major, to live away from home in a dorm, to go to school with people from across the country is a big deal! Whenever I volunteer at DCP, the students constantly ask questions. They want to know everything from about what it's like to choose your own classes to what the food in the cafeteria is like.
One thing I have learned from working with students at DCP is not to assume that everyone is planning on attending college. You can tell that the students at DCP have such a passion for learning, but they often lack the resources to go to college or are simply uniformed of the many ways that going to college can broaden your horizons. Whether you volunteer for DCP or not, make it a point in your life to help someone that might not know what college is all about. Make it a point to reflect at some time throughout the day on why you are going to college and never take for granted the fact that you have the opportunity to further your education which will always be the gift that keeps on giving!
- Adrianna Oliver
Karina is a janitor from El Salvador who works a partial job at SCU. She is an ambitious woman, who is taking the ESL classes because she wants to achieve a higher position at work. Her charisma has charmed everyone in the class and her inspiring story reminds us that it is never too late to pursue a dream.
Karina and her tutor Katie, have become a dynamic duo through ESL. They are more than just partners for the English classes; they have built a long lasting friendship. During our group sessions, both are constantly chatting and laughing, almost in a teasing way, as if they were partners in crime. It is gratifying to see how ESL has brought these two amazing people so closely together.
What is more, last week Karina suggested that we should all go eat Pupusas. Pupusas are similar to wheat tortillas, only thicker and filled with beans, meat, or cheese, typical from El Salvador. Her idea inspired me to make an "Appreciation Event" next Friday. At 4pm volunteers and workers will meet up in "El Águila" to get some real Salvadorian Pupusas. This will be a great opportunity for Karina to share a bit of her culture with us. We are all excited to hear more about her life growing up in such a beautiful country, and to be able to share this delicious dish with her.
- Melanie Vezjak
ESL on Campus PC
How can our community come together in times of deep political division? How can we promote dialogue, respect and social justice? It is my firm belief that we do it by coming together and sharing what we are passionate about. We must collaborate to create spaces for solidarity. SCCAP, the SCU Student Art League, and the Forge garden came together to put on an amazing event, Gallery in the Garden, empowering students to showcase their art, celebrate environmental justice and perform music and slam poetry. Eating home grown salad, singing along and looking at sculpture, over 100 students were able to come together in a laid back atmosphere, mingling with students, faculty and staff from all different areas of campus.
The Empowerment Department within SCCAP is launching a new movement, Be More: the campaign to make Santa Clara University more responsible, more sustainable and more transparent. Inspired by the Ignatian philosophy of the Magis, we as a community must hold our institution accountable to its mission and Jesuit identity. We have to encourage the University to be better, to be more. Understanding that the fight for social justice is an uphill battle we know that the only way we can continue on is through community. Martin Luther King wrote, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” movements like ours work to ensure proverbs like these come true. As an institution we must orient ourselves against the grain of the current day and towards justice. We must stand up for the rights of the marginalized. We must be leaders in environmental justice, and not fall complacent in our moral minimums. We must look closely at our university finances and ensure that fall in line with our values. As a community of people who care deeply about the world in which we live, we must challenge our institution to be more responsible, more sustainable and more transparent.
- Ciaran Freeman
LEAD 10: College Going Communities and Challenges, is a class I’ve been taking during this winter quarter. Among the many discussions that have began as a result of the systematic inequalities ingrained in the U.S educational system; mainly the correlation for wealthy communities to receive more resources than they need, and for lower income communities to receive the exact opposite; I’m enthralled by the notion that people still beat the system, people make it out of those low income communities and make something more of themselves and their communities! These outliers, people who have come from the low end of the socioeconomic ladder, are thriving at Santa Clara University, thriving at other colleges; in essence, beating the odds and thriving in places where they statistically and demographically were not meant to be.
From these outliers, we encounter an unquenchable thirst for success, driven by a potent factor: passion. They were able to carry themselves in ways other low income students could not, many times by opportunities, but many times by their sole desire. As mentors and role models, let’s work to ignite this passion when working with low income communities. Why? Because they are not dependant on someone coming to “help them out,” to carry them out of disparity. If as mentors, however, we can aid in their willing process of having an internal locus of control, whereby they perceive their actions as having a monumental impact on the outcomes, I firmly believe more people will make it out. By placing the student in a position of power, where their decisions matter, the passion is ignited!
- Omar Herrera Luna
PC of Sunol