Category Archives: Sustainable Community Building
Richland College students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to engage in discussions and hear the stories of four women from various regions of Russia during two presentations hosted by the Richland College Institute for Peace, Richland College Honors Program and the Global Education Development Advisory Council on March 29.
The women were Lena Novomeyskaya of Yekaterinburg and born in west Ukraine, Elena Ivanova of St. Petersburg, Tatyana Bukharina of Yalta in Crimea and Natalie Ivanova of Krasnodar. They came to the U.S. as part of the first Russians Meet Mainstream America (RMMA) program developed by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), an organization dedicated to reducing tensions between the U.S. and Russia and debunking misunderstandings through citizen-to-citizen exchanges, public relations and social media efforts in both countries.
During the sessions at Richland College, the women addressed the audience and told stories about their histories and what it has been like to live in Russia, including how their lives changed when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Discussion also included their perceptions and opinions of Americans, the Russian economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and other timely issues. The purpose of the discussions was not to argue or debate, but to share different points of view to educate the citizens in both countries.
“I was brought up on the idea that America is a friend of Russia,” Natalie Ivanova told the audience during the second presentation. “My father participated in the Stalingrad battle in 1942 during the second World War. He was wounded in this battle, and when I was a child he told me a lot of stories about the war, and he told me that he was very grateful to the United States.”
Bukharina’s story received particular interest from many audience members when she discussed her home in Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that, while previously a Russian province, became a Ukrainian territory in 1954. In 2014, Russian troops captured strategic sites across Crimea and annexed the territory, a move that was generally condemned by many world leaders because it was considered to be a violation of both international law and Russian agreements that safeguarded the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Bukharina told the audience about how, despite international opinion to the contrary, many Crimean citizens supported this annexation by Russia for many reasons, including Ukraine’s violation of Crimean human rights, such as cutting the water supply to many citizens, including farmers.
“This morning I checked my [e]mail, and my friends know that we are here with the program Center for Citizen Initiatives, and that we’re working as volunteers, and friends from Sevastopol wrote, ‘give a big thank you to the American people for returning Crimea back to Russia,’” Bukharina said. After a pause, she added, “Are you surprised?”
Honors English student Ryan Morrow participated in the question-and-answer session, and later he commented on what he learned about the effects the dissolution of the Soviet Union had on the Russian people, a common thread discussed by all four women.
“I didn’t realize how much of an economic effect the end of the Soviet Union had on the Russian economy and how much work, or how much damage, it actually did that is still persistent in their society,” said Morrow.
Similarly, Morrow’s classmate Victoria Patterson felt the presentation opened her eyes more because the women discussed many issues that are generally not mentioned by the American media.
“I think it’s really interesting how they’re saying Americans really aren’t portrayed negatively over there, yet our media typically demonizes them so much,” said Patterson. “I didn’t know most of the stuff about what happened in Crimea that Tatyana [Bukharina] was talking about, so I think it’s interesting how much we have kind of been allowed to hide.”
“What is most valuable about this meeting between Richland College students and our Russian visitors through CCI is face-to-face dialogue that brings authenticity and honesty to the forefront and dissolves the barriers created by second- or third-hand news and simple ignorance,” said English faculty member and Richland College Institute for Peace and Human Rights coordinator Scott Branks del Llano, Ph.D. “Conversations are wonderful equalizers, and this event offered humane and compassionate conversations where empathy and peaceful understanding rose above the suspicion and divisiveness that permeates much of the media regarding Russian and U.S. relations. We need to engage in many more such forums of hospitable dialogue.”
In addition to Dallas, this first RMMA delegation’s itinerary includes Atlanta, Fort Worth, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
CCI was founded in 1983 with the hope that ordinary Americans could help bring about a constructive relationship with the Soviet Union. A CCI travel program soon became a reality, with American citizens visiting Russia and Soviet republics, with the travelers developing Soviet contacts. In 1988, Soviets Meet Middle America (SMMA) was the first program that brought non-party member Soviet citizens to the U.S.
Other past CCI successes include helping bring Alcoholics Anonymous to Russia; creating an economic development program in 1989 to train young English-speaking Russian entrepreneurs in how to start a business by organizing internships for them in American companies; shipping both cold-tolerant seeds and emergency food boxes when the Soviet Union dissolved; founding programs to train Russian small business owners and to train young Russian women in the apparel industry to encourage self-employment; and teaching orphanage children computer technology skills. In 2010, CCI closed its doors after funding had evaporated during the prior several years.
CCI was revived in 2015 by its founder and president Sharon Tennison, and a travel program was restarted for Americans to visit Russia. RMMA was then initiated in 2018 in response to the growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, with the intent of bringing Russian citizens to the U.S. to discuss major issues between the countries and reduce stereotypes and misinformation.
The Richland College Institute for Peace is committed to educating for peace, justice and the abolition of conditions that give rise to violence and war. It fosters an interdependent community that actively pursues peaceable living, resolution of conflict and respect for human dignity, contributing to the goal of global peace, justice and friendship among peoples. Programs for students, employees and the community are offered through the traditional academic curriculum, continuing education, professional development and teleconferences.
The Richland College Honors Program provides highly qualified students with an enriched and challenging academic community where they develop the capabilities necessary to excel in their educational and career goals.
Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Garland Chamber of Commerce and local business representatives were present at a check-signing ceremony April 13 at Richland College Garland Campus to award Richland College with a $804,845 Skills Development Fund Grant from the TWC.
The grant will be used by Richland College to create or update 430 jobs at nine Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies, including Aloe Vera of America; Altronic Controls; Ecolab; General Dynamics; Hatco; Marlow Industries; Sherwin Williams; Unity Manufacturing; and VEKA South, Inc.
Training under the grant includes AutoCAD, electrical basics and troubleshooting, hydraulics, ARC Flash, motor controls, Lean Manufacturing, CPR, Microsoft Office, project management, Six Sigma Green Belt and leadership.
“Richland College Garland Campus appreciates the ongoing confidence that the Texas Workforce Commission and area manufacturers place in us an experienced, high-quality, results-focused training provider,” said Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., president of Richland College. “We remain ready to anticipate and exceed expectations in training delivery for these business partners and other business partners in our Garland community and beyond.”
“Garland is extremely proud to be a manufacturing community,” said Paul Mayer, CEO of the Garland Chamber of Commerce and DCMA.
Event speakers included Eggleston, Mayer, Richland College Garland Campus Associate Dean of Workforce Development Kimberly Wilkins, TWC Chairman and Commissioner Andres Alcantar and Unity Manufacturing CEO Richard Buferd.
Richland College will host a day of family fun when Dia de la Familia comes to the campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 6. This free annual event is presented by the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) and will feature free food, entertainment, children’s activities, tours of Richland College facilities and more.
Entertainment for the event will include performances from Folklorico, a dance group from Lake Highlands High School that performs traditional Mexican folk dances, top winners from Richland College’s So You Think You Can Dance contest, a dance party with Richland College’s mascot R. Mobius Thunderduck and more.
Activities will include a children’s coloring station, and visitors will be able to decorate their own traditional sugar skulls at a booth sponsored by the Richland College Achieving Latino Academic Success student organization. Richland College representatives will also be providing tours of the gaming and interactive simulation facilities, including the motion capture lab, and the Richland College Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Center.
Exhibitors, including DCCCD colleges, local organizations, businesses and Richland College departments, will be on hand to provide information and services to families who attend.
Dia de la Familia was initiated in 1986 at Eastfield College in response to high dropout rates among Latino students during their transition to college. In 1990, the event was adopted as a DCCCD event hosted at Mountain View College. Since 1997, the event has been held on a rotating basis at each DCCCD campus.
More information is available by calling 972-238-6194. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Rd. in Dallas.
The Dallas County Community College District always has been defined not by whom we exclude, but by whom we include. We do not know the impact on our students of the recent executive order regarding immigration to the United States by residents of certain countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). We do know that at least 47 DCCCD students are from these countries.
Undoubtedly, enormous confusion has occurred around the world, in our country and within the higher education community regarding the implications of this executive order. Let me be clear: the network approach to higher education makes it necessary for us to connect our students to the resources they need as they encounter barriers to their future success. While we do not know what the impact will be on our students, we stand ready to provide and/or direct them to the resources that will help them make the most informed decisions about their personal situation.
This immigration situation is evolving and changing and, because of the many lawsuits that have been filed, it is impossible to know how it will be resolved. In spite of uncertainty, we have put in place several strategies to help expedite sharing information with students who potentially could be affected.
To help provide information in a timely fashion, I have asked that we set up a dedicated email to address questions or concerns. We will do our best to guide any questions we receive at email@example.com to the appropriate resources.
We are actively assisting a number of community organizations that are both willing and able to provide support to our students or employees. We have provided a list of these resources to each college office that is responsible for international student admissions and advising. I want to thank these individuals for their willingness to meet with and listen to the concerns of our students.
We continue to monitor developments related to the order, and we are working with peer institutions, universities and national associations to understand and best address its implications and any changes that may result from pending litigation. That being said, all colleges and universities are in exactly the same situation – we are learning as we move forward, and there is no precedent for a situation of this nature.
For more than 50 years, we have welcomed students, faculty and staff from around the world. That culture of diversity and inclusiveness has become an essential component of the DCCCD community, and it is reflected in our policies, which prohibit discrimination in any form. When I arrived at DCCCD in 2014, I began immediately to talk with our leadership, faculty and staff about the importance of integrating global learning into our curriculum, noting that today we live and work in an international economy.
I want to assure you that I value the diversity of our faculty, staff and students and that DCCCD is committed to fully engaging the wealth of thought, purpose, circumstance, background, skill and experiences shared in this community.
Although the current environment related to immigration is unsettled, I remain focused on our purpose: to equip students for effective living and responsible global citizenship. We stand with you as we continue to build a community of teaching and learning through integration and collaboration, openness and integrity, and inclusiveness and self-renewal.
Chancellor Joe May
In keeping with its mission of teaching, learning and community building, Richland College recently became a partner with the new Garland Can Academy at Arapaho Road Baptist Church by offering Adult Education and Literacy/English as a Second Language (AEL-ESL) and GED courses in the school’s classrooms at the church.
These AEL-ESL and GED courses are free and open to the community, and they are taught by Richland College continuing education faculty members.
“Through these AEL-ESL and GED courses offered by Richland College, individuals seeking to acquire English language skills, enhance literacy, expand employment opportunity and open doors to future college access and degree and certificate completion now have guided pathways to achieve dreams of better, more prosperous lives for themselves, their children and our community,” said Zarina Blankenbaker, Ph.D., Richland College’s executive vice president for academic affairs and student success.
“Our partnership with Garland Can Academy is an extension of the programs we offer on our main campus,” said Gary Hensler, Richland College’s dean of continuing education and workforce training. “We are excited to extend our offerings to groups in our community beyond the physical confines of the campus so we may better serve our constituents.”
The Garland Can Academy, a Texans Can Academies campus, provides students the opportunity to pursue their dreams while removing barriers that may keep them from attaining an education. It is the sixth Dallas-area Texans Can Academies campus with a current enrollment of 165 students and room to grow to 300 students.
Texans Can Academies has a network of 13 charter schools across Texas that are tuition-free, open enrollment, public high schools of choice, welcoming students of all walks of life. The organization’s mission is to provide the highest quality education for all students, especially those who have struggled in a traditional high school setting, in order to ensure their economic independence.
People interested in taking AEL-ESL or GED classes taught by Richland College at Garland Can Academy can contact Richland College Continuing Education at 972-238-6972 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garland Can Academy is located at 2256 Arapaho Road in Garland. Information on the academy is available at texanscan.org/schools-and-programs/garland.
Richland College art professors Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld are raising awareness about the epidemic of sex trafficking in the U.S. with “In You We Trust,” an art exhibit that gives a tangible representation of children sold on the streets each year. The exhibit is on display now through Oct. 16 in the Brazos Gallery on the Richland College campus.
The Dallas Independent School District reports that approximately six thousand of its students are homeless, and studies from the National District Attorneys Association estimate that one out of every three children will be approached by a pimp within 48 hours of being on the street. Staggeringly, this means that 2,000 children are potentially sold each year in Dallas alone.
With that devastating number in mind, Rose and Lefeld created plaster molds of coins and recruited volunteers to help cast 2,000 ceramic coins, one for each child in Dallas potentially sold into sex trafficking. Each coin has a face on the front that was designed by Lefeld, and Rose designed the crown depicted on the back of each coin. The coins represent the practice of using children as currency, and the exhibit name, “In You We Trust,” is a call to action for the audience to not turn a blind eye to sex trafficking.
“We aimed to create an installation that would bring attention to this social issue and open pathways for discussion and awareness to a wider public,” said Rose. “As artists, we want to start conversations. This conversation about sex trafficking of children is one that can literally save someone’s life. ‘In You We Trust’ is about action. In you we trust to say something. In you we trust to do the right thing. In you we trust to save a life.”
“In You We Trust” began in January when Rose and Lefeld attended a training session and lecture hosted by Traffick911, a group who works with law enforcement to identify victims of sex trafficking. Rose and Lefeld were interested in applying for a grant from the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and after attending the session with Traffick911, they knew what their subject matter would be.
“The coins give a tangible representation to the statistic of 2,000 children sold on the streets each year,” said Rose. “We chose coins because pimps view these children as currency and have also been known to brand their victims with coin tattoos. The use of coin imagery was told to us anecdotally by a Traffick911 volunteer.”
After spending several months developing prototypes and perfecting a creative process that would allow for volunteers to assist, Rose and Lefeld began the process of creating the 2,000 coins. The project is culminating in the exhibition at Richland College. During the exhibition, lecturers from Traffick911 and other organizations will educate the community about sex trafficking.
“Our main goal with this project is to make people aware that this is happening in Dallas,” said Rose. “The more people know this exists, the more likely they are able to identify situations where children may be in danger, and the more likely they are to speak up.”
“’In You We Trust’ is a wonderful example of how art meets activism,” said John Spriggins, the Richland College gallery coordinator. “Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld have demonstrated their willingness to tackle a very controversial topic in a creative and thoughtful way. Both Rose and Lefeld are reaching beyond the college campus into the community, conducting work sessions with organized community groups that participate in their creative process. The benefit of having resourceful, socially conscious and community-minded faculty like Jen and Marian at Richland College will have a lasting impact on students, faculty and staff. Having secured funding from the Office of Cultural Affairs, this exhibition is proof that supporting the arts can have substantive results.”
Upon the ending of the exhibit at Richland College, Rose and Lefeld hope to raise enough money to have 1,000 of the coins travel to other parts of Texas and the U.S. to be put on display and raise additional awareness of sex trafficking.
To help cover some costs that were not funded by the grant and to realize the goal of traveling the exhibit, a GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up, with donors receiving one coin for each $50 donation to the project. Any money raised that surpasses their goal will be split with Traffick911.
Those wishing to donate to “In You We Trust” can visit gofundme.com/inyouwetrust. Additional information on sex trafficking is available at traffick911.com.
Girls to experience more learning, campus life at UT Dallas during second week
Twenty middle school girls explored science, technology, mathematics, arts and engineering (STEAM) concepts and discovered the joy of learning this week at Richland College.
These Dallas-area 8th grade girls were selected to participate in Girls Inc. SMART Summer College Camp, a two-week learning experience designed by Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Richland College and The University of Texas at Dallas – Science and Engineering Education Center (SEEC).
The first week of camp, held June 16-20 at Richland College, focused on “Water: Ubiquitous and Unique.” The girls learned about the various properties of Earth’s most important resource in the contexts of sustainability and ecology. The curriculum included experiential learning activities in the sciences as well as in 3-D art, learning strategies and college readiness skills. Each afternoon, the girls experienced the physics and fun behind the hula hoop.
Sherry Dean, Richland College speech communication professor and Girls Inc. board member, says the week was an amazing success.
“We saw the girls grow a lot,” Dr. Dean says. “It was a very intense learning community. This week sets the stage for thinking routines and helping the girls see connections. The girls created ePortfolios to showcase their experiences. They will be able to look back on this week and realize how they’ve become stronger, smarter and bolder.”
Dr. Dean said another important goal was achieved — introducing the girls to a pathway more and more students take to pursue higher education: the community college experience. Richland has some 20,000 credit students and offers Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS), a dual-credit charter high school.
“We planted important seeds for them,” she says. “The girls really enjoyed being on the campus and we introduced them to RCHS. They were excited to consider options. I believe we had a positive influence on their aspirational goals for higher education.”
Next week, June 22-27, the girls will experience campus life at UT Dallas, living in dorm suites, finding out what it takes to apply for college and participating in learning activities in bioengineering, nanotechnology, forensic science, robotics and space science.
At UT Dallas, the girls also will have the opportunity to connect with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals from the university and Dallas’ business community. Evenings will be filled with fun activities such as karaoke, Zumba and movies. The week culminates with a field trip to Texas Instruments.
Expanding the horizons of the young women selected to participate is a significant goal of the camp, says Lori Palmer, CEO of Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas.
“Girls Inc. SMART Summer College Camp will awaken the potential in middle school girls as they explore the life of a full-time college student and discover opportunities in STEM fields,” Ms. Palmer says. “We encourage girls to explore STEM fields because research demonstrates that women employed in STEM careers earn an average of 33 percent more than those employed in other fields.”
Bernine Khan, UT Dallas’ SEEC director, says UT Dallas is thrilled to host week two of the camp because while the university is distinguished for its strength in STEM education and research, females make up only about 43 percent of the student body.
“Females, in general, represent a hugely untapped resource of potential STEM professionals in our nation, and when compounded with low socio-economic and cultural issues, the pathway to a successful STEM career is stymied,” Dr. Khan says. “The program introduces these girls to the flavors of STEM careers through interactions with female STEM professionals. If the girls ultimately choose a non-STEM field, it will be an informed choice with the full knowledge that their intrinsic ability had no bearing on their decision.”
Richland College celebrated the rich cultural diversity of its students and employees on April 17 during its annual Intercultural Festival.
The event opened with “Transformation,” an outdoor, lakeside dance performance choreographed by Richland College Dance Professor Gina Sawyer, followed by the planting of Richland College’s 24th peace pole.
The newest pole on Richland’s campuswide Path for Peace bears the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English on one side and in Kyrgyz, Telugu and Yoruba on the other three sides. Learn more about Richland’s peace poles by visiting www.richlandcollege.edu/peacepoles.
Richland College President Kay Eggleston encouraged those gathered for the peace pole planting to reflect on the deeper meaning of the ceremony.
“This moving tradition provides us with an opportunity to unite together and reflect on our shared commitment to promoting peace for those among us and throughout the world who face fear, injustice, hunger, loss, suffering and unrest,” Dr. Eggleston said. “In the words of revered former United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.'”
Susan Barkley, executive dean of Richland College’s School of World Languages, Cultures and Communications, also addressed the group and challenged the audience to learn more about the cultures of their fellow students and colleagues.
“I always look forward to this glorious day at Richland as we celebrate the unique talents and gifts that our students bring to our campus and honor the diversity which enriches our community,” Ms. Barkley said. “Whether you come from Dallas, Texas, the Cote D’Ivoire or Dubai, at Richland you are becoming a global citizen with an appreciation of other cultures, an ability to work with diverse teams, and an understanding of the interdependence of nations around the world.”
The celebration continued with the colorful Parade of Cultures, led by Chinese lion dancers and featured students carrying signs representing more than 40 countries of origin.
After the parade, Richland students and community members wearing traditional clothing performed dances and songs from their home countries. The Latin Dance Team, special guests from Berkner High School in Richardson, performed a spicy mix of salsa and bachata.
Intercultural Festival attendees also enjoyed Texas barbecue and a variety of global wares sold by artisan vendors.
Richland College was named the 2014 RecycleMania Grand Champion of Texas and ranked third nationally out of 461 participating colleges and universities.
RecycleMania’s mission of inspiring environmental and social consciousness fits perfectly with Richland College’s vision to build sustainable local and world community. Richland has participated in RecycleMania since 2009, taking the Texas Grand Champion title in 2014, 2012, 2011 and 2010.
RecycleMania’s Grand Champion category is based on a weekly recycling rate. Richland’s recycling rate for the competition was 75.1 percent. Antioch University Seattle was the 2014 RecycleMania National Grand Champion with a weekly recycling rate of 93.13 percent. University of Missouri-Kansas City finished second with 81.05 percent.
During 2014 RecycleMania, participating institutions collectively recycled or composted 89.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 126,597 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere – equal to the annual emissions from 24,823 cars.
According to RecycleMania, Richland College’s activities during this year’s competition prevented the release of 335 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or the same reduction in greenhouse gases as removing 66 passenger cars from the road.
RecycleMania started in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The competition has expanded from two schools in 2001 to 461 colleges and universities in 2014 spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Complete results for all 11 competition categories can be found on recyclemania.org, including a breakdown showing how schools performed by athletic conference, institution size, state and other groupings.
Richland College hosted 247 area high school students for “Engineering the Future,” a special event highlighting the engineering and technology fields of study. The event, held Feb. 17 and Feb. 19, coincided with National Engineers Week. Students from North Dallas, Garland, North Garland, Naaman Forest and Conrad high schools participated in various activities including a rocket launch, meetings with college and university representatives, special presentations by Richland College and Texas A&M University-Commerce officials and a campus tour.