Viewpoint: Life at CSCC goes beyond classroom
Apr 16, 2014 | 876 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Continuing with the celebration of National Community College Month during April, this week we focus attention on some of the opportunities students have for learning and involvement outside of the traditional classroom experience.

Studies have shown that students who are involved in campus activities tend to be happier with their college experience and more successful in the classroom. At Cleveland State, students interested in connecting with a group have opportunities for involvement in student clubs and organizations.

These groups may be based on similar interests (like the Curtain Call Society) or academic program (like the Medical Assistant Association). Some groups like the Wildlife Society travel for competitions against groups from other colleges. Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for students at two-year colleges, provides opportunities for scholarships, service and leadership. Each year, hundreds of students participate in approximately 15 such groups, gaining leadership experience and teamwork skills while providing service to the college and surrounding communities.

The Student Senate serves as the student government organization for the college, and solicits student opinion, encourages student participation in the governance of the college and represents student opinion to the college administration. A highlight of the year for several Senate members is participating in TISL, the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature, which sponsors a student-led mock legislative session at the state Capitol each fall.

Working with the student activities office, Student Senate sponsors campus events such as Octoberfest, Fiesta Latina, Spring Fling and Student Appreciation Nights. These events offer plenty of entertainment, fun and plenty of free food!

Students who are interested in sports or physical activities have a variety of options at Cleveland State.

Our campus recreation program includes intramural sports — like wiffleball, basketball, pool, ping-pong, tennis and dodgeball — where students form teams and compete against each other.

The college fitness center, available at no charge to CSCC students and employees, is a well-equipped facility with a variety of cardiovascular equipment, strength training equipment and free weights. The center is staffed with friendly professionals who can help students understand the equipment and create an exercise program to meet their needs and interests. Other recreation facilities available at the college include the gym, tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court and the fitness trail.

Cleveland State has a proud tradition of intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women dating back to 1967. Offering teams in baseball, softball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, CSCC earned the distinction of being the first community college in Tennessee to have teams in all sports participate in national tournaments.

Several thousand students have benefitted from being a part of intercollegiate teams throughout the college’s history, often moving on to successful athletic and academic careers at universities and achieving success in their chosen career fields. Other college students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to come out and cheer on the Cougars and Lady Cougars as they compete against other National Junior College Athletic Association teams.

A program and speaker series sponsored by the special programs office offers opportunities for students to increase their cultural awareness and enrich their educational experiences. Speakers such as Esther Bauer, a survivor of the Holocaust, and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, a child leader in the Civil Rights movement and current university president, bring unique personal experiences and perspectives from which students can learn.

Music performers and dance groups, many with an international flavor, provide entertainment that may help students learn about different cultures without even leaving campus. The best part of the program series is that it’s open to the entire community, and the programs are free of charge!

Students come to Cleveland State from a variety of social, academic and ethnic backgrounds. Our student body represents over 50 nationalities, 43 Tennessee counties and nine states.

We have students who are barely old enough to drive, and others who are enjoying retirement. Some of our students are raising children, while others are still living in their parents’ homes. More than half of our students attend school part time while working; many others work part time while taking a full course load.

Experiencing this diversity is a big part of the student life program at the college which provides students of all types with opportunities for leadership, learning, service and hopefully a little fun in the meantime!

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(About the writer: Dr. Michael Stokes is the vice president for Student Services at Cleveland State Community College.)