Category Archives: Clubs & Organizations

Phi Theta Kappa: Exploring Innovation in the Local Community

Below, Phi Theta Kappa honor society invites anyone interested in entrepreneurship to attend next week’s FREE innovation events. LaTianna Dumas, a 2015 Urbana High School graduate and president of Parkland’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, extends the invitation.

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Are you interested in learning how local innovators developed unique and successful business ventures? Do you dream of a nontraditional career path that will allow you to go where your passion and creativity can take you? Phi Theta Kappa can help you explore these concepts of innovation, to help you turn your dreams into reality and success!

Phi Theta Kappa, the official international honor society of two-year colleges, recognizes the academic success of community college students and builds the leadership and professional skills of its members. In addition, Phi Theta Kappa builds camaraderie and compassion within community colleges. Parkland’s local chapter, Alpha Psi Eta, features a student-run officer team overseen by their advisor, Professor Lori Garrett. Their current focuses are engaging Parkland students from different backgrounds, contributing to the local community, and exploring their current Honors Study Topic, “Global Perspectives: How the World Works.”

Parkland’s chapter is researching the roles of individualism and collectivism in fostering business innovation. There are numerous facets to innovation, and the innovative process varies greatly depending on the creators and the corporate and societal structure around them. As a culmination of their research process—a model called “Honors in Action”—Phi Theta Kappa is hosting a series of three presentations featuring local business innovators from right here in Champaign-Urbana!

The series, “How to Build a Business,” runs from Monday, December 5 through Wednesday, December 7 at noon each day in Room D244. Attendees will hear local entrepreneurs discuss their businesses, their inspiration, how they got started, and how they turned their ideas into success. Everyone is invited to attend these one-hour talks and perhaps gain some inspiration of your own.

Here is the lineup:
Monday, December 5 PandaMonium Doughnuts: fueling Champaign-Urbana’s doughnut cravings (free doughnuts to the first dozen attendees!)
Tuesday, December 6 CU Community Fab Lab: creativity through collaboration
Wednesday, December 7 Cracked Food Truck: created for students, by students

To learn more about Phi Theta Kappa or this series, contact chapter president LaTi Dumas at latianna.dumas@yahoo.com. You may also contact chapter advisor Lori Garrett at lgarrett @parkland.edu.

 

[Hilary Valentine is associate director of Marketing and Public Relations.]

 

 

It Only Matters How You Finish!

Parkland College Student Trustee Crystal Bates (above, third from right) details below her determined journey to get to, and succeed at, Parkland College.

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Life threw me a couple of curve balls long before I had ever chosen to take swing at bat:

I was recruited by the US Navy at age 17 and spent two years doing secure communications in a foreign land. I had joined because my options were to go to college, join the military, or enter the workforce with zero training or experience.

I came back home and the years slipped away from me; I was busy trying to have fun with the least amount of responsibility possible. I worked retail for almost 10 years before retail took a big hit because of the tight economics. The job was not fulfilling, and each day I dreamed of how I could escape this tedious work that made me feel so mundane. Soon, I was laid off from my job and so worked various short-term jobs to pay the bills and take care of my daughter.

Next thing I knew, four more years had passed, and I was pregnant with twins! This was a shock; I believe that most of that pregnancy I really thought the doctors were kidding. After 34 weeks in, we found out that one of the twins was in distress and had to be delivered immediately. Realization set in when I was holding two healthy, and happy babies. Now I was a mother of three. This was my title, my work. But all the while, I’m dreaming of a better life for my children and me. How was I ever going to accomplish anything with three small children? With passion and unbridled determination.

I had a fire burning inside me, and the only way to put it out was to invest in myself for the benefit of my children, myself, and others. Dreams that I was in school, receiving an education that no one would ever be able to take away from me, drew me to Parkland College, where I knew they held the keys to my dreams.

Application for admission, assessments, orientation, student ID—before long, I was officially a Cobra! Upon meeting with a counselor, she revealed the degree of my dreams: Associates of Arts in Psychology. I signed up for fall classes immediately. Was I nervous? Super nervous.

As a matter of fact, I would come early just so I could find friends to keep the panic attacks at bay. The circle of friends I have made have been some of the best friends a person could ask for! We help each other with assignments and are there for each other for social and emotional support. These connections with students and our professors has kept me at Parkland for my (now) fifth year, as a nontraditional student.

I have had to take longer than most, but I graduate in the spring of 2017. Has it taken me longer than that of traditional students? Sure it has, but I have a 3.2 overall GPA, all because I took considerable time on assignments and made sure that my grades were a high priority. Also, because I have determination and passion, I have held two offices in Student Government. I started out as a student senator and have currently been voted and sworn in as student trustee.

My time at Parkland is coming to an end, and I am so sad. This is such a great institution with amazing professionals who make it their personal goal to see each and every student succeed. I have been so fortunate to have built such amazing social connections because Parkland feels like an educational “family”. Besides fantastic professors, the Center for Academic Success has assisted me in ensuring that my GPA is as solid as it is. CAS is an amazing tool that each and every student has access to. I cannot speak highly enough about our tutors and our Writing Lab! Use these free tools that help make each one of us better students and extremely qualified professionals in our chosen field of study.

Has it been hard to go to school with little kids? Of course. It is a balancing act, just the same as daily life is. But I decided to tip the scales in my favor and invest in my personal academic path. Do I plan to transfer? Absolutely. I am not done yet. I have developed an addiction to learning as much as I can, as long as I can. The end result will be a mater’s degree in clinical psychology. Being a veteran, I feel I have a duty to help my brothers and sisters in their struggles to maintain normalcy, and this is whom I hope to work with, for the most part.

Thinking College? Club Latino Students Share Some Keys to Success

What are three key ingredients for success at Parkland College for Latino students?

The students themselves would probably tell you that: 1) family/friend support, 2) affordability, and 3) information is the trio to beat.

I recently sat down with members of Club Latino, one of the longest-running and most active student clubs at Parkland, for a Q&A session. These students come from various cities (Rantoul, Arcola, Tuscola, Decatur, and C-U) and are pursuing a wide range of majors (music therapy and neurology, psychology, computer science, criminal justice, surgical technology, Spanish, and sociology). Most of the Club Latino students work 30-40 hours a week as well as take classes, attend Club Latino meetings (free pizza!), and do volunteer/service work with the club.

As we chatted about their Parkland experiences and what has kept them motivated to learn, they also shared with me what they would like future Parkland students of Latino heritage to understand about college before they begin their journeys here.

What keeps you going?
  • My mom. She is so encouraging.
  • Support for our families; we don’t want to let them down.
  • We are hard workers—it’s in our blood.
  • We need a better future for ourselves.
  • I have goals—I want to achieve them.
  • I am a nursing major, and I’m getting closer to my goal of helping people.
How do you balance work and school?
  • It has not been easy. There are days I dedicate to school and days I dedicate to work.
  • I consider my Club Latino time my hangout time.
What made you decide to come to Parkland? Why is this place special?
  • I worked with my mom in a factory for two years. I saw how tired she was after working 60-hour weeks, and I knew I didn’t want to do that forever.
  • Parkland’s tuition is more affordable than other schools, and it’s closer to home.
  • Parkland feels safe to me. The environment is friendly and I don’t ever feel fear. I feel like it’s my home.
  • It’s a great place to start… a stepping stone.
  • I still don’t know what I want to do, but I will figure it out at Parkland.
How does campus involvement in Club Latino benefit you?
  • How important is it to be involved in college? 101% important. Students struggle with work and school, but being involved helps you realize how much more college has to offer and how worthwhile it is.
  • You’re also learning leadership skills, teamwork skills, accounting, planning. When you experience other things, you start to have a broader perspective.
  • I’ve met a lot of new people from new areas and made new friends.
  • It makes you more responsible because you see other people being responsible.
  • I never had much Latino culture growing up, so being in Club Latino connects me to my heritage.
  • We try to motivate younger Latinos to set goals and go to college. We do outreach to high schools.
What would you want a younger brother or sister to know about starting college?
  • Applying to college is not as hard as you think. When I first came to Parkland, I talked to Financial Aid and figured out how to pay for college. It seems like a lot of steps, but once you’re in, the only struggle is then getting through classes. Once you’re here, there are a lot of people to help you out.
  • Get started early for fall. Don’t wait. Fill out the FAFSA and use last year’s information. You want to be one of the first people to apply. You have to be persistent.
  • I think it’s important to find that support system before you come, and then once you’re here, find it here.
  • You don’t have to know what to major in before you come to school. The general requirements apply to a lot of majors, so none of it is wasted time.

    Thanks to Club Latino members who shared their meeting time with me: Kellyn, Jesus, Bree, Karina, Yulibeth, Chaz, Joey, Jennifer, and Lisette.

[Hilary Valentine is the marketing analyst for Parkland’s Marketing and Public Relations department.]

 

Get Involved: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Part of the college experience is becoming more aware of your contribution to society; you come to realize you can and do make a difference by serving the world around you. This month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, offers new opportunities for you to express that service. Here are two of them:

  • Our RACES Fundraiser takes place April 26, 11 am–1 pm, in the Student Union. All proceeds will benefit Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services (RACES), a community rape crisis center. RACES offers advocacy, counseling, and crisis intervention for survivors of sexual assault and provides educational programs in Champaign, Piatt, Ford, and Douglas Counties.
    While you’re at Parkland next Tuesday, buy and decorate a “I ♥ Consent” T-shirt. Take a selfie of yourself as you sign the “Empowering Words” wall, a new mobile assault and domestic battery awareness display. Make your own bracelets/wrist bands, Ultimately, make your voice heard, because it’s on ALL of us to say, “Not Anymore.”
    Shirts are available in white $10  or blue at $15. If you’re unable to attend, you can still order a shirt by contacting Chaya Sandler at 217/353-2627 or me, Dean Marietta Turner, at 217/351-2505. Tell us your size, color and please make the check out to RACES.
  • Take your group, club, friends or family and make a strong Parkland College showing at the 37th Annual TAKE BACK THE NIGHT walk:
    37th Annual TAKE BACK THE NIGHT
    Thursday, April 28, 6:30–10 pm
    Lincoln Square, 201 Lincoln Square, Urbana
    Take Back the Night is aimed at raising awareness around sexual violence and calling for its end by bringing together survivors, community members, students, and other supporters. Everyone will gather on the west side of Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana (intersection of Race and Green Streets), and march to the Main Quad beginning at 7 pm.
    A rally and speak-out will follow the march. The speak-out will take place in room 217 in Noyes Laboratory (505 S. Matthews Ave., Urbana). This event is OPEN TO EVERYONE. We will march in inclement weather, barring dangerous conditions. For more information, call 217/344-6298.

On behalf of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Committee at Parkland, I encourage you to get involved and make your voice heard.

Thanks,

Marietta Turner
Dean of Students
Parkland College

Celebrate Earth Week at Parkland College

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Parkland College has celebrated Earth Day, Earth Week, and even Earth Month each April for a number of years, with activities planned and organized by members of the Sustainable Campus Committee. But this year, we celebrate this week with activities planned by Parkland students, in a group so newly formed, they are just undergoing approval for official student club status!

Read on to see how the upcoming Parkland Students for Sustainability Club hit the ground running. Students, staff, and community members are welcome to attend these events, all held in the Student Union, room U142, by the cafeteria stage.

Tuesday, April 19: Focus on Sustainable Transportation

As a commuter campus, a significant portion of Parkland’s carbon footprint is attributed to transportation impacts, primarily from car commuting. Learn about ways to lower your pollution contribution, and how Parkland can plan and build to reduce transportation impacts. Mass transit and bicycling are also good for you; learn about the health benefits of sustainable transportation alternatives.

9am-10am: Join Ben Leroy, associate planner with the City of Champaign, to learn about how Parkland connects to Champaign’s transportation infrastructure and what we can do to support both better connectivity and a larger percentage of bicycle and bus commuters.

11am-1pm:

  • Come provide your ideas and input on how Parkland’s campus can be more connected, accessible, and encouraging of outdoor activity for people of all ages and abilities. We’ll have a big map and idea board.
  • Bike maintenance and cycling safety demonstration with Neutral Cycle (12:30pm start time)
  • Strategies and financial implications of car-free living
  • Mapping out existing and desired campus features for fitness, access to nature, and universal design
  • Resources from CU-MTD to make bus riding to campus easy and economical.

Wednesday, April 20: Eat Local!

11am-1pm:

  • Try samples and browse a pop-up mini grocery store of local foods including produce, bread, cheese, and coffee from Prairie Fruits Farm, Blue Moon Farm, Sola Gratia Farm, Great Harvest Bread, and Columbia Street Roastery.
  • Learn how to make great seasonal meals with pointers and recipes from Community-Supported Agriculture businesses in our region.
  • Find out about the Champaign Farmers Market’s double-your-money purchasing incentive program for individuals and families who qualify for SNAP benefits.
  • Hear how the Wesley Food Pantry helps reduce food insecurity right here in Chambana, and about opportunities to both use this community resource and volunteer to support its mission.
  • Check out the sun using a solar telescope, and learn about the science of the seasons from the Parkland Astronomy Club.

Thursday, April 21: DIY Green

How can you make your day-to-day activities healthier and more environmentally responsible? Join us for a series of activities that will save you money, reduce your exposure to chemicals, and lighten your environmental impact all at the same time.

11am-1pm:

  • Green cleaning: learn about the simple, low-toxic products that can be used instead of commercial cleaning products. They’re effective and safer for family and pets.
  • Natural personal care products: store-bought personal care products and cosmetics can contain chemical toxins and hormone-disruptors. Find out how to make your own personal care products to save both money and the environment!
  • Receive a small dose of toxicology! Learn about the health impacts of home cleaning and personal care products from the Parkland Science Club.
  • Paper or plastic? Neither! Bring a used T-shirt and we’ll help make it into a one-of-a-kind reusable shopping tote!
  • Become water-wise at home: learn how to check your toilet tank for silent leaks that could be costing your household hundreds of dollars a year in unneeded water and sewer charges. And bring home water-saving faucet aerators and shower heads (while supplies last) that will lower your utility bills the minute you install them. We’ll give demonstrations on how to easily install these money- and resource-saving devices.

Attend these events to learn about living more sustainably, and if you are interested in learning more or joining the student club, please email tpeterson@parkland.edu.

 

[Thor Peterson is the sustainability coordinator for Parkland College.]