Student Life

Saving Lives and Eating Burritos

By Dylan Doyle, East Campus Editor-in-Chief, And Hannah Lovejoy, Social Media Editor

What would you do for a Chipotle burrito? Would you donate blood? The American Red Cross visited Cuyahoga Community College’s West Campus on September 20-21 and East Campus on September 28 to give students the opportunity to donate blood. Those who donated received a coupon for a free burrito from Chipotle, an offer many students found quite appealing, given the turnout of the blood drive.

“It was definitely a different experience,” said Tri-C student Ellen Race, who was donating blood on West Campus. “I just enjoyed the fact that I could help out with such a good cause.”

Dozens of students passed through the donation chairs with a unified goal of saving lives and chowing down on Mexican food over the course of the five-hour event. One of those in attendance was the president of Tri-C’s East Campus himself, J. Michael Thomson. Thomson looked completely at ease in the donation chair, smiling to the students as they passed by. This level of comfort comes from a history of previous donations, starting at a blood drive held at the University of Kentucky, where he was doing graduate work. The amount Thomson has donated totals several gallons of blood. One of the primary reasons for his contribution at this blood drive was to help with the ongoing emergency need for blood due to the recent hurricanes.

To some students, needles and blood might sound intimidating, but those who are familiar with the process can put those fears to rest.

“I’m afraid of blood, and I’m scared of needles, but the professional here usually takes care of me, and the cookies are good afterwards,” says Thomson. “It’s a way we can give that’s practical that helps other people, and I really like that.”

“It’s kind of like when you got your shots when you were a kid. It’s a quick prick,” said Keith Norman, a political science major donating blood on East Campus. “The advantages outweigh the disadvantages. You’re saving lives, and you’re helping the world, so you should definitely do it.”

The American Red Cross runs these blood drives twice a year at each Tri-C campus, bringing the student community and local community together and making it easier than ever to help save lives.

“I like being able to meet so many people and thank them for their time and giving blood.” said Stephanie, one of the Red Cross staff members running the blood drive on West Campus. “It’s nice to see students who want to help out those in need.”

 The Red Cross and Tri-C host about four to six blood drives per year at all four Tri-C campuses. The next one is at West Campus on October 30, so get your iron count up and donate!

Tri-C Students Learn to Be Leaders at Student Leadership Retreat

By Lore Smith, East Campus Associate Editor

Student leaders from Cuyahoga Community College gathered for a highly participatory leadership retreat on September 22 at the Hospitality Management Center. These students engaged in different activities to recognize their ability to lead. Participants also evaluated their perceptions and biases about leadership in small group activities.

The facilitators generated discussions and activities regarding the difficulties of decision-making, then participants completed the activities, considering different decision-making approaches. It was made clear that different decisions aren’t necessarily wrong, since leaders have different perspectives. Everyone’s decision should be respected. A series of team-building exercises showed students how working in a team can be fun and engaging. Students experienced the power of teamwork by working together and examining the dynamics of their team.

They learned it’s incumbent upon the leader to ensure the team is working toward a common goal. The activities taught student leaders that teamwork is necessary for the most effective outcome, and clear communication is critical. Time was allotted within each activity for a short debriefing session, where the facilitator helped students articulate the teamwork concepts illustrated by that activity.

In the middle of the retreat, a discussion panel was held featuring three noteworthy speakers: Bob DiBiasio, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs with the Cleveland Indians; Geralyn Presti, a Board Trustee of Tri-C and President/CEO of the Music Settlement; and Monique Menefee-Profitt, a Tri-C alumna and veteran of the U.S. Air Force pursuing her PhD. Each speaker shared leadership experiences from their professional and personal lives.

They imparted nuggets of wisdom regarding leadership mistakes, their biggest risks, work-lifebalance, and resources to help make students into better leaders. After the students enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by Tri-C’s hospitality team, Kimberly LoVano from the Cleveland Food Bank shared data related to food insecurity, housing, health, and employment in northeast Ohio. Her passion is to understand and address the issues impacting hunger. LoVano also shared the processes and procedures needed to obtain food from the Food Bank and how the Cleveland Food Bank networks with other agencies to help combat hunger.

The retreat’s structure was a combination of didactic, experiential, and self-directed learning. It was active, intentional, and impactful. This retreat made students think about what makes a great leader, and how to become one themselves.