9 Reasons You Should Get Involved On Campus

ACC students and Student Life Director Dan Balski at the Student Engagement FairGoing to college is about so much more than just going to class (but please make sure you are doing that). It is also about gaining experience and perspective to help you in your future. Getting involved on campus can help you succeed in numerous ways…here are 9:

  1. Build Your Community / Find Your People
    Joining a club or organization, going to an on-campus event, or working on campus can help you find your people (those people that get you and you get them) and build your community. You’ll meet people who share your interests and passions. Having that community helps you stay engaged with your education and with your college. You’ll gain the sense that you belong right where you are and have the support to help you Move Mountains toward your degree/certificate.
  2. Networking
    Getting involved on campus gives you a chance to network with not only your peers, but faculty, staff, transfer college reps, and potential employers. At ACC, we offer career fairs/visits, transfer fairs/visits, clubs, organizations like NSLS and PTK, and a variety of activities where you can practice your networking skills.
  3. Get Different Perspectives
    When you get involved, you will get to meet people with different perspectives and life experiences. As you share your perspectives and experiences and learn about other viewpoints, your perspective will expand. Having an open mind and seeing another person’s point of view will help in future jobs and socially.
  4. It Helps You Reach Your Goals / Succeed
    Studies show that students who get involved on-campus tend to perform better in the classroom. This may be because these students find study groups, take classes with their new community of peers, and overall just feel more supported and ready to tackle each challenge they face. (Read more about the research by Alexander Astin and Vincent Tinto.)
  5. Snacks!Students at Student Life BBQ
    Attending an on-campus activity is a great way to feed your mind and your body. We know our students have more commitments than just college, so we provide you with snacks, coffee, pizza, soup, salad, and candy (for that burst of sugar) to keep you going from one activity to the next. Enjoy an activity and a snack between classes.
  6. It’s Good for Your Mental Health / Well-Being
    Taking time to enjoy an activity or join a club for a hobby you enjoy can do wonders for your mental health. It gives you a chance to focus on something you enjoy and de-stress. It helps you relax, but can also help you prepare for tasks and homework that lie ahead.
  7. It’s a Resume Booster
    Being involved on campus looks great on your resume. When you join a club, organization, or academic experience (Pinnacle, Progenitor, Great Books, Writers Studio) you are showing that you are well-rounded to potential employers. You are also learning skills that you may not be in class, such as: social, leadership, and organizational skills. Clubs and organizations are a great way to practice those “soft skills” employers are seeking. You may also be eligible for a work study job on campus as a component of your financial aid package. Work on campus and build your job skills.
  8. Develop Leadership Skills
    Speaking of building your skills, colleges have organizations to help provide you with leadership skills. At ACC, we offer: Student Government, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), and National Society of Leadership Success (NSLS). These organizations provide you with the opportunity to take part in competitions, activities, and events that will give you the chance to grow as a leader.
  9. It’s fun!
    Getting involved on campus is fun! These activities, clubs, and organizations are designed to help you relax, build skills, and interact with your peers and the college community. So take a break from your studies (but please still make time to study) and join the shenanigans!

You might be asking yourself how you can get involved at ACC now? It’s easy.

There are a ton of ways to get involved whatever your interests may be. We want ACC to be your home away from home while you are getting your degree or certificate. Our faculty and staff are here to help you along your educational journey and beyond. After all, college is a time for studying (we didn’t forget), discovery, and planning for and beginning your future. Let’s Move Mountains together!

For more information about how you can get involved on campus, contact the ACC Student Life Office at 303.797.5668, student.life@arapahoe.edu, or visit M2820 on the Littleton Campus.

Why I Attend ACC and Joined Phi Theta Kappa

Camila Monroe, ACC studentNowadays, we hear everywhere about the importance of diversity; community colleges are the most diverse academic population anyone will be able to find. A quick walk around our school will illustrate that: we find overachieving high schoolers, coming back students, young adults pursuing a new career, international students, Hispanics, people of color, LGBTQ activists, Republicans and Democrats, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers…and the list goes on. The differences in backgrounds, race, gender, political affiliation and age make community colleges the environment that we would like to see along the streets. It’s an environment where all of that diversity comes together to learn. Of course big universities might also offer that variety, but in community colleges that is a sure thing; one of the reasons is that nearly every person can afford that kind of education.

Which brings me to another point: we are at school because we want to – not because our parents do. We sign up for classes because we truly expect to learn, and to apply that obtained knowledge as soon as possible, whether it is towards a job or higher levels of education. We are goal-oriented students, and we will persevere in the journey towards that goal.

I joined PTK to become the VP of Honors in Action (HiA), a position that combined two things that I have a passion for: research and community service. I started my project that summer, and I have learned and grew so much ever since. I have had experiences with community service and journalism back in my home country of Brazil, doing something similar in a completely different language and culture was beyond challenging. But I succeeded, and as a consequence I started to engage more and more every day.

The success of that project made me thirsty for more; more friends than those amazing ones I had met at PTK, more outreach of my ideas on how we could improve our community, more ways to be part of my school beyond showing up and getting good grades. After my award-winning HiA, I joined many clubs, became a chemistry, biology and economics tutor at ACC, joined the Colorado Space Grant Program, and, finally, became president of student government and of our PTK chapter. I believe PTK is not only for those who were born ready, who had all resources available; it is also an honor society for those who overcame obstacles, who do not ignore, but recognize and even celebrate their imperfections. Those are the hard-working students, who understand that a leader is not born, but built, slowly, as a consequence of the never-ending process of bettering ourselves.

by Camila Monroe

ACC Student Spotlight: Leah Porter

ACC Student Leah PorterAt ACC, Leah received lots of support from administrators, faculty, and staff. When she realized she want more than just an associate degree, she reached out to several ACC employees and was offered help in fulfilling her goals and achieving her dreams.

Leah loves that ACC is small and that everybody is very nice. She also loves that ACC has a Dean of Students, Vice Presidents, and the President of the college walking around communicating with students. “Our school doesn’t preach inclusivity, we practice it,” said Leah. ACC has become her new family.

The three most valuable benefits Leah have received from ACC are:

  • Education
  • Confidence
  • Leadership skills

Leah tells people that if you want success, there are lots of resources available to help you find your success within the school or on a national level. She also said, “ACC changed my life. At ACC, I have achieved what I thought was impossible. I received awards from ACC and the national level.” She is the honoree in the PTK’s All Colorado Team, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar, Guistwhite Scholar, and ACC’s Rising Star. ACC is proud to have Leah as part of the family.

She graduated in May 2017 and is transferring to CU Denver for her Bachelor’s in Business Management. Her new goal is to pursue a Master’s Degree in Higher Education to inspire others the way she has been inspired. “My experience at ACC is beyond wonderful,” said Leah. She will continue to Move Mountains!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

ACC 2016-17 Student of the Year – Leah Porter

Leah PorterEarlier this spring, Arapahoe Community College student Leah Porter was selected as one of 15 nationwide Guistwhite Scholars by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Recipients are chosen based on academic achievement, leadership accomplishments and engagement in PTK programs. It proved to be just one of a multitude of accolades that the Malaysian native would garner during a decorated 2016-17 academic year at ACC.

Porter initially arrived in Colorado in 2001, but spent the majority of the ensuing six years traveling in and out of the country before returning to Denver as a permanent U.S. resident in 2007. She has lived in Israel, Singapore, Czech Republic (Prague) and Puerto Rico, and is fluent in five languages. However, when she enrolled at ACC in 2014, her written English and math (logarithms) competencies were not yet at the college level. Language barriers were frustrating and rendered prerequisite courses challenging. Porter, however, persevered through the adversity and was encouraged to apply for the ACC Sales Club Scholarship by Dr. Jim Boespflug while taking his Business Law class. Much to her surprise, she was selected as the recipient.

“Winning the scholarship really woke me up,” explained Porter. “It invigorated me, and I realized that I wanted more from my college experience. In fact, it motivated me to apply for an officer position in ACC’s Sigma Phi Chapter of PTK.”

She has become accustomed to overcoming obstacles, but none may be greater than the cultural adversity she has – and continues – to contend with. Porter, however, knew the path she wanted to travel, and began a new journey three years ago. Her goal: an associate degree and “cerebral” career.

“There is a socioeconomic demographic of women in Malaysia who are discouraged from advancing their intellect,” expressed Porter. “There is, unfortunately, a stigma that exists within my family because of the choices I’ve made to pursue my education.”

The President of Sigma Phi, Porter garnered Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar recognition earlier this spring. She is ACC Student Government’s representative on the State Student Advisory Committee (SSAC), as well as the student representative on the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Porter earned Distinguished Officer acclaim at this year’s PTK Colorado/Wyoming Spring Regional Convention and was named to the PTK All-Colorado Academic Team in March. In 2016, she attended the PTK Honors Institute, served as Sigma Phi Vice President (Honors in Action Project), attended the Emily Griffith Symposium and founded ACC’s first student book club. Porter has also served on the President’s Student Advisory Council and Diversity Committee.

“My experience at ACC has been so valuable. The integrated, institution-wide support at the College has enabled me to establish not just my educational pathway, but confidence in myself,” said Porter. “The faculty and staff, as well as the opportunities, at ACC are amazing. My educational journey extends beyond just my life. ACC has helped change the lives of my daughters, who now have college aspirations.”

Porter has moved mountains at ACC with great fervor, and she approaches each challenge as an opportunity to expand her horizons. Her global voyages have since subsided, but her academic endeavors are well underway. She has been named ACC’s 2016-17 Student of the Year and will serve as one of three student speakers at the College’s 50th commencement on May 10 when she graduates with her associate degree in Business Administration. Porter, who plans to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees, wants to attain a career in higher education, serving as an advocate for aspiring female students both locally and around the world.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

What I Chose When I Joined PTK

Mark D'Agosta in parkour move on ACC campus

Mark D’Agosta participating in Parkour Club at ACC.

Consequence of Choice

I never tell anyone that I think they are talented, because I believe in the golden rule. To me, every talent is a consequence of a series of choices made. The choice to train results in fitness, the choice to spend time with a loved one results in a healthy relationship, and the choice to study results in academic excellence. Yet with each action we choose, another action is left undone. In this way, the life of a college student is brimming with choices. Do I get straight As, or do I enjoy my free time? Do I spend the money for extra classes, or do I upgrade my failing car?

Luckily the decisions we make are more complex than the arithmetic of choice A or choice B. Like a great investor, a great person puts up a large investment when the return is guaranteed, yet they also make small investments that have the potential to pay out big. The strategy involved in such investments is rarely a simple matter to predict; there are risks and nothing is certain. However, good strategy involves identifying patterns, calculating odds, and making the right move.

I made a choice to join the Arapahoe Community College Sigma Phi chapter of the honor society, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). It was not an ignorant decision, it was a calculated move based on some particular ideas gleaned from my previous career.

PTK Can Help You Stand Out In The Job Market

I have interviewed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people, and I have to say–screening applicants is difficult. I learned three things from my experience. First, in the world of mass applicants, two extra seconds of attention make all the difference. Second, there are some triggers that attract an experienced reviewers’ eyes: anything extra! Most applications are very similar, they have the same types of information, in the same order, said the same way. If you break the pattern you get noticed. Finally, once face-to-face with applicants, the interviewers appreciate having something to ask you about. So, providing the interviewer with additional fodder for discussion can make a difference in an interview situation.

PTK Can Give You A Stronger Narrative

While being a member of Phi Theta Kappa gives me the slight edge in applying for schools, scholarships, and jobs, I find the benefit runs deeper. I chose to be involved in PTK to develop a stronger narrative and a richer college experience. When an interviewer asks me to give an example of a specific experience, I have an answer. I explain how I sat down with a Senator to address the issue of failing depleted water resources. I talk about how I initiated new systems at the college and in the community, and how my follow PTK members made those systems work. Thanks to PTK I have success stories, not because I am talented, but because I was supported by others who wanted to achieve as much as me. Interviewers love this type of response, because it predicts success. Involvement in PTK makes me look like a better applicant, because it makes me become a better applicant. Being a member of PTK gives students access to a community that is dedicated to excellence. Just to be associated with this community brings esteem, and my involvement binds me to success. This is what I chose when I joined PTK.

by Mark D’Agosta, ACC student