Black Hawk College students speak out

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Students in Professor Tobyn Leigh’s Speech 101 class were recently assigned to work on a group project regarding changes they would like to see made on campus. They were asked to consider what, in their view, would make campus life better.

Classes were divided into groups and began to brainstorm issues that they felt could be improved upon. Food options, parking, event promotion, sports participation, and child care were among the topics discussed.

After evaluating the problems they saw, students were supposed to research possible solutions, interview staff or faculty related to the situation, and come up and conduct a survey asking students questions related to the problem and possible solutions. They were also asked to consider how budget, time constraints, and man power might play a part in the existence and/or solution to the problem.

Here are some of the results they came up with:

One problem that exists lies  in the effective promotion of sports, activities and events that enhance campus life for current and future students of Black Hawk College. What is uncertain is whether the problem lies in the target audience of events that exist, target audience of promotion tactics, or the organization of already available information.

After researching and interviewing campus personnel, students discovered that some of the programs they thought were non-existent – like Student Life and sports activities – are, in fact, promoted on some level. However, they felt that other necessary programs, like child care, new student interaction, and support for non-traditional students still need to be incorporated into student life.

What this group further discovered is that one of the main promotional techniques used by the marketing department is Facebook posts. However, when students were surveyed, it was discovered that they use other social media platforms more frequently, like Twitter and Instagram, and often don’t receive Facebook notifications that are posted.

Research of other community college promotion programs showed that students at other campuses have a twitter program that they can tweet #events to a given number, and then they will receive regular event updates. Other colleges send out emails to remind students of events as they come up. In some cases, both methods are used to ensure events are made known to the entire student body.

When it comes to food options for students on the Black Hawk College Campus in Moline, many students and faculty have expressed dissatisfaction with the choices that they have for meals available on campus. The major ones being the Subway in building four, and the gas station style food at the bookstore in building one.

While such foods are fine for a quick and easy bite, it is safe to say that the monotony of the choices has left the majority of us students feeling forced to go off campus to find better food.

Unfortunately, from what we found out, fixing the problem is not as easy as bringing in more types of food. Due to the fact that a business on campus would have a limited number of customers, it was agreed that most franchises would not see a franchise on campus as profitable; thus, eliminating the idea of bringing in another franchise for the time being.

Right now all the food choices on campus are money makers for the college to help support student events and activities, so any additional options are examined for profitability. Will they bring in more money for the school or will they decline profits made from the current food options?

Many students have currently expressed a desire for healthier food options, such as having a smoothie bar on campus. One teacher mentioned that their used to be a café on campus and many students expressed a great desire to see one reestablished on.

In addition, most stated that they would eat more on campus if the college offered more options. Students and faculty are ready for a change.

For one solution, we are hoping to convince the student life to offer more hot meals at a steady frequency and have students pay for the meals to offset the rise in costs.

The money could go to support student life and other activities on campus and students could have their change in the meal plan. We figure it would be the fastest solution to the problem and most likely the easiest.

Most of the other solutions, like rotating food trucks, have been thrown around would require a great deal of work to get them started.

We know nothing will happen overnight. However, we are ready to get a solution started and would like to see it completed.

(Co-written by Katherine Pustejovesky)

Anyone who is looking for a decent job needs access to a quality education. While scholarships and financial aid do exist, not everyone qualifies for those options. Students then are left to worry about the debt they incur while in college, in addition to normal every day expenses.

On top of college expense, more than forty percent of the community college population is made up of non-traditional students who often times have families, with those expense added into the new bills they are creating with college.

Students in this group believe that there is a problem with going to school and being able to apply themselves to lessons being taught while trying to deal with the hardship of financial and personal obligations. The day to day issues stacking on top of priorities make it hard for college life to be successful.

Potential solutions this group explored include for the school to provide counseling and/or support groups to help students learn how to better deal with financial burden, or to provide access to more internet resources and ebooks rather than expensive textbooks that students get little return on.

They also discussed ways for students to get more education about grants and scholarships that might be available to them.

Students expressed concern about not knowing what to do if a catastrophe happened on campus. While extreme situations like zombie outbreak and sharknado are unlikely, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Where should the  students go if there should be a tornado? Earthquake? Fire? or worse…. what is the best plan should an active shooter terrorize Black Hawk.

Other circumstances, like assault, theft and accidents were also explored.  More than likely protocols have been established by college officials for these and other situations.

It is obvious that students need to be better informed about how to respond in these other other catastrophic events.

The final group of students were disatisifed with the advising options here at Black Hawk College. They felt that students should be assigned a specific advisor rather than just speaking with whomever is available at the time they show up in the One-Stop center.

Through research and interviews they learned that athletes typically do have a single advisor. Other students have to make a special effort to seek out the same advisor each time they need to talk about their schedule.

If students had a specific advisor they could go to regularly, it would provide more consistent advice, rather than having different opinions work on the same problems.

Some of the solutions these students recommended include having advisors assigned to specific majors or departments, have advisors keep in touch with, or follow up with students they have worked with, or for there to be more online options available for students.

What do you think? Do you have ideas to help improve campus life? Perhaps you’ve experienced an issue already discussed here. Let us know what you, the student body, has to say about these issues. Email to