Giving Back to the Community

The holiday season is in full swing here on campus. From decorations that are sparkling in the dining hall to the Fels Student Center lobby, the campus is aglow.

The end of the semester is also often a time when student clubs and organizations work on their community service projects. In doing this, I believe the students often gain more than the organizations they serve.

As Patrick Hoey of the EAB (Executive Advisory Board) of the Student Government Association stated when 9 of their members visited the Jeremiah Inn, a residential recovery program for men, “I can’t stress enough how happy I am that we were able to give back to the Inn once again. I think this is a legacy we should leave here at Nichols College.”

We believe it is important for students to get into a habit of giving back to those who are less fortunate. John F. Kennedy once said “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” While our students are not always able to give financially, they certainly have the skills and talent to give back in a number of ways, ranging from tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club of Webster-Dudley, to Alternative Spring Break with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans.

Sports teams are also required to do community service, and one of their activities is to read in public schools. Other clubs and organizations have dedicated time to the Webster Food Bank, the Center of Hope for disabled individuals and to collecting winter coats.

Giving Throughout the Year

While the holidays are the time when we are reminded about it the most, food pantries in every community often have to ration food throughout the year because they can’t meet the demand. Some children do not have a warm coat or gloves this winter, and some families cannot afford their utility bills. Those needs do not lessen in any given month on the calendar. Every community has ongoing needs for those who are less fortunate.

A Holiday Message . . .

As we think about ways we ourselves can become more involved, I have a special request. Please reach out and help others who may not be looking forward to a joyous season. Donate to your local food pantry, volunteer some time to a shelter, or drive an elderly neighbor to the mall. If everyone did one more outreach activity than they normally do, think about the impact that would have.

As you celebrate this time of year, I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season, one that is filled with laughter and fun with family and friends.

Last Student Dinner of the Year

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting my final student get-together for the semester with 18 of our honors students. While the dinner was informal, it still provided an opportunity for me to hear from a group of students who are part of a growing program. The Honors Scholars program not only challenges students academically with honors-level classes but also provides students with access to on-campus social events,  guest speakers, and field trips to sites of cultural interest as well as business and government institutions, all of which are supported by the College.

Colleges at a Tipping Point

Recently, an Op-Ed piece of mine ran in The Boston Globe. In the piece, I offered some approaches and ideas toward turning whatever undergraduates are studying into marketable job skills through internships and signature programs such as the Professional Development Seminar. In promoting the value of a college education, we as educational institutions need to take a hard look at our budgets and find novel ways to manage our bottom lines.  All of these approaches and ideas — from promoting the value of a college education to taking a hard look at our budgets — may sound like we’re running a business, albeit a very special one. I think it’s time that we all do more to ensure that our customers (students) are getting what they’re paying for, and that we don’t price them out of the market.

Click Colleges at a tipping point to read the entire article.