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The Presidents Corner

My Walks on Campus

By President Wes Bryan

I walk the campus most every day. It’s not just to escape the paperwork, e-mails and meetings – it’s my way of making physical contact with the good work we all do with students here every day. Most every day I learn something new about this college and the people who are here. One day I talked with a Public Safety officer about how he has been helping a blind student get to class and some of the things he has learned from the senior citizens he has escorted to our Cosmetology program and how good they feel after their facial or hair-do. On a Monday, I encountered a teacher that had just returned from a trip with honor students who had won top awards at UCI. Another day I watched the replanting of new Quad trees. Usually I have time to wander through our Native Garden – where spring is happening.

The mailroom always provides time for a conversation about campus events – this week it was about our wonderful theatre production and the upcoming Choral Performance. Standing in the mail room I looked at faculty and staff names and reflected on the fact that three of our staff members have published books this year; another was recognized for lifelong contributions to Jazz. There was an announcement about a student club activity and I thought of how much time and energy the faculty member has given to make this project happen – and how much these students are growing from those efforts. There were also announcements about the Collections of Kindness – for children with life threatening illness, and the blood drive, and a children’s book drive, and Women’s Heritage month.

On the way back to my office someone pointed out something that needed fixing, so I called M & O and by day’s end this safety concern was taken care of. Walking across the campus I met the faculty member who was just named as a recipient of the Hayward Award given by the Board of Governors for outstanding service to students. A student stopped me and asked where they might find some tutoring help and I was able to walk them to the Tutoring Center. On the way, I saw an athlete that had recently been offered a full-ride scholarship to UCLA.

On a different day I talked with an instructor about a student problem and together we identified a solution. Sometimes when I have a little extra time, I slip into one of the large lecture classes, take a back seat for about ten minutes and find real pleasure in watching good teaching and the opportunity to learn something new.

Not every walk is the same, nor are they all productive. But every walk is enjoyable — because this campus is enjoyable, not simply because of its location and grounds — but because of its people. The people who work here and the students who attend have a shared value — educational excellence. I don’t mean to be Polly Anna about all of this – certainly there are problems to solve and fiscal challenges to address. Some buildings still need a lot of attention, and we have had to make uncomfortable cuts – but overall this is a good place to be and we are doing good work with good people and I am reminded of that everyday – when I walk the campus and talk with those I encounter. If you’re ever depressed or feel stuck – take a break, take a walk and re-discover why we work here.

Wes Bryan Signature