Reporter’s notebook

Photo: Matthew Dembicki
  • Advocating for part-time students to serve on college boards
  • Resilient jobs in San Diego
  • Robots help with room cleanse
  • Florida college cuts energy use by two-thirds

Advocating for part-time students to serve on college boards

The Massachusetts State Senate in November passed an amendment that would change eligibility requirements for student trustees at community colleges and state universities, allowing part-time students to hold the position. The amendment now moves to a conference committee for consideration.

The effort to change the law comes, in part, from the work of Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) students Caitlin Marotta and Lindzie White, who respectfully serve as president and vice president of the college’s Student Government Association. Under current state law, only full-time enrolled students in Massachusetts community colleges can hold the position of student trustee, despite changing demographics in the state’s community college system where more than two-thirds of all students are enrolled part-time, according to CCCC. Advocates also note that students of color enroll part-time at a greater percentage than white students.

“We are thrilled how our student leaders recognized a critical need and worked with our state legislators addressing the eligibility of our part-time students to serve as student trustee,” CCCC President John Cox said in a release.

Earlier this year, CCCC’s student trustee resigned due to issues related to the full-time enrollment requirements.

Resilient jobs in San Diego

What occupations remain in high demand in the San Diego area despite the economic downturn due to the pandemic? The San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA) on Monday released its commissioned study that identifies 27 pandemic-resilient middle-skills occupations — jobs that require more education than high school but less than a four-year degree.

Among the jobs are computer game designer, cybersecurity specialist, database administrator, geographic systems specialist and web developer.

“This data marks a path back to work for hundreds of thousands of workers who have been laid off, furloughed or underemployed through no fault of their own during this pandemic,” Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and SDICCCA chair, said in a release. “These career education programs can be completed safely, close to home, for an average cost of just $2,760 – an investment that can pay for itself in as little as a year with the expected increase in salary.”

Robots help with room cleanse

A Tru-D robot disinfects a room at Brookdale
Community College. (Photo: BCC)

Brookdale Community College has bought two robots that use ultraviolet light to kill pathogens as part of the college’s efforts to clean classrooms during the pandemic.

The New Jersey college says it is the first college in the nation to purchase the Tru-D ( short for “Total Room Ultraviolet Disinfection”) robots to prevent Covid infections by generating UVC light that modifies the DNA or RNA structure of an infectious cell.

After its traditional cleaning protocol is met, the college remotely rolls the robot to complete the disinfection process. It features an application that tracks infection control data and uploads the information to the college’s web portal, according to Brookdale.

Florida college cuts energy use by two-thirds

A campus-wide sustainability program implemented at Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) in 2013 is yielding substantial energy savings for the college.

The program has primarily focused on human factors in energy use, but it also included installing motion sensor technology, central temperature controls and more, according to the college. As a result, NWFSC has reduced energy consumption by 67%, resulting in savings of more than $6 million through 2020.

“Our innovative approach to environmental stewardship serves as a model for fellow educational institutions,” NWFSC President Devin Stephenson said in a release.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.