Dozens of employers will visit Washtenaw’s campus hoping to recruit talented students on Tuesday, March 17 from 1-4 p.m. in the Morris Lawrence building. Employers will be looking for applicants to fill positions including: sales department manager, home furnishing sales, cook/assistant cook, maintenance technician, certified nurse assistant and network field engineers.
Job seekers should bring several copies of their resumes and dress professionally.
Summer events at ML building
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
The Morris Lawrence Building hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
There are a lot of summer happenings at Washtenaw Community College, but sometimes students miss whatever hullabaloo goes on in the Morris Lawrence Building.
Is it the distance? It’s not really that far. Is it the construction? Students can easily go around it.
No matter what, you’ll have to hone your excuses, because The Voice
has listed a sample of ML events. So come one, come all!
May 9 – 15 The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
Wild Swan Theater comes to Towsley Theater again to put on a family-friendly production.
May – 12 Farewell celebration for President Whitworth
The WCC community says goodbye to their president at 4:30 p.m. in the ML lobby.
May – 17 WTMC graduation rehearsal
Washtenaw Technical Middle College students will practice for the big day in Towsley from 3-4:30 p.m.
May 19 Honors Convocation
Several rooms in ML will be used for Honors Convocation from 3-7 p.m. Towsley, ML 105/121, 120, and the lobby will be in use.
May 22 WTMC graduation
ML 160, the ML lobby and Towsley will all be used to send of WCC’s WTMC students from 1-6:30 p.m.
May 24 Defensive tactics training
Come to ML 101 to learn different ways to defend yourself with SAFEhouse from 10 a.m.-noon.
June 16 Ypsilanti Band
The Ypsilanti Band will perform in Towsley Auditorium starting at 6 p.m.
July 15 Turkish American Cultural Association Concert
Come celebrate culture —whether its your own or not — for a concert in Towsley Auditorium, starting at 4 p.m.
July 16-22 Iron workers
Iron workers from all over the country will come to WCC for a weeklong conference, with many of the events happening inside MLB.
For ‘Earth Day’and ‘Farm Career Day,’ A2 looks to WCC
ROBERT CONRADI WASHTENAW VOICE
Prepare to see a lot of green and white at Washtenaw Community College during April.
Rest easy, Michigan fans – Michigan State isn’t coming to infiltrate the campus. Instead, WCC is hosting a few environmentally focused events, including the 40th Annual Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival and the Small Holder Farm Career Day and Job Fair.
“T-shirts for volunteers will say, ‘Ann Arbor’s Green and White,’” said Ian Griffin, director of student activities and development.
Both events will be held in the Morris Lawrence building, and both are new to WCC. While the college has held an Earth Day celebration in the past, this will be the first time that the event will be combined with the city of Ann Arbor’s.
“One of the great advantages to having it at WCC is that we have the Morris Lawrence building, where even if it snows, it’s a hospitable place,” said Laura Lyjak Crawford, WCC’s public relations and marketing senior managing editor. “We have a lot of space. We have great parking.”
For Ann Arbor’s Earth Day celebration, which will happen from 12-4 p.m. on April 25, volunteers and participants will need all the space they can get. Attendance is expected to be between 2,000-3,000 people. Fortunately, the event will be on a Sunday.
“We changed it from being during the school day to being on a Sunday so that it was more convenient for community members,” said Nancy Stone, the public service area communications liaison for Ann Arbor. “This way, there wouldn’t be a parking situation.”
Along with food, entertainment and animals that will be at the event, local children are invited to participate in the much-anticipated All Species Parade. The parade participants dress as their favorite species, be it a plant or an animal. One lucky volunteer will be chosen to lead the parade dressed in “some sort of dinosaur suit,” according to Griffin.
“It’s really colorful and fun and sweet,” said Lyjak Crawford. “We’ve had lions and tigers, of course, but sometimes amoebas.”
Griffin stated that even though WCC will be helping set up and take down the event, he still needs plenty of volunteers. Any and all help is welcome.
The other ML building event, the Farm Career Day and Job Fair, will happen on April 19, from 1-5 p.m. Co-sponsored by WCC and the Food Systems Economic Partnership, this event is more adult-oriented. Victoria Bennett, WCC’s academic administrative associate to the dean of business and computer technologies, is a member of FSEP and helped bring the event to WCC.
The first time Bennett thought of the idea, she was at the HomeGrown Local Food Summit, an annual Ann Arbor event put on by farms and organizations interested in local food.
“In one of the focus groups, there was a farmer that was saying, ‘We need access to people that can work. We need to find employees,’ and he kept pointing at me,” said Bennett. “At that point I was like, ‘OK, not really sure how to do this, but thank you.’”
Soon after, Bennett worked with FSEP to put together the job fair. She cited the idea as a way for students to connect with local farmers and community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) to learn about jobs in everything from Web design to fieldwork.
“Some of the farmers are even open to bartering for services. They might be open to providing fruits and vegetables in the summer in exchange for a professional service,” said Bennett.
Richard Andres is one of the farmers who plans on taking advantage of the job fair. As one of the owers of Tantré Farm in Chelsea, he’s looking for help with welding, repair and maintenance, construction, cheese-making, greenhouse management, bookkeeping and more.
“At that job fair we’re going to have a little display with our history and what we do with vegetables and what our season is like and the work we do here,” said Andres. “We’ll encourage people to come out to the farm for a work day – just see if they like this sort of work and just sort of build relationships.”
Andres first starting farming when he was growing up. He says it was his “first job.” However, it took him a while before he had a farm of his own. The reason he stuck with it is because of the feeling he gets on the farm, after which Tantré Farm is named. The name comes from an old story he heard in the 1980s. The girl in the story was named Tantré.
“It has to do with stillness and clarity,” he said. “I guess when I was out here on the land I felt very calm. Things are fairly clear and that sort of life inspired me.”
Proposed ML makeover would be heartbreaking
I have been a student of classes in the Morris Lawrence Building for a decade. I am a performing arts student in the dance department, which is a viable environment. Its enrollment is constantly increasing.
I am concerned about the planned action to make a huge expenditure to try to create the space to double book the Atrium and the Towsley Auditorium. Does the need come up for booking more than three or four times per year? Is there any proof that this would actually raise revenue? Historically, the Board of Trustees has supported the Department of Performing Arts. I do not believe the performing arts people were consulted about this issue.
The repercussion for this “fix” will result in the loss of offices for several full-time faculty. All the teachers have worked hard to build this wonderful department so that students Washtenaw Community College can express themselves as individuals and artists of the highest caliber.
Our working lab is the famous Morris Lawrence Building. This is where we practice to perform. How are we going to play the saxophone or do our dance numbers in miniscule cubicles assigned in the Liberal Arts Building?
This proposed change is a hazard and a humiliation for the students evolving as performing artists, working diligently with their professors. The proposed change is a destruction of a system that is working beautifully in exchange for a commercialized profiteer’s dream. Creating artists through this Performing Arts Department is a beacon, a bright light that sets WCC apart.
What about the idea of waiting until the recession is through to give the ML building a whole new makeover? I respect the memory of the person who this building was named for. Morris Lawrence is one of the greatest jazz musicians and served on the faculty as a most influential and creative driving force. He would be appalled to see the students’ access to professors eliminated.
We, the students, are the taxpayers. We do not want this disastrous change to occur to a most creative faculty and arts department.
I do not believe the proposed change will make the difference in incoming revenue. This decision, if made, will be heartbreaking for all the students and faculty.
Timing of $4,000 dinner, higher tuition bad for trustees
Washtenaw Community College’s Board of Trustees’ decision to raise tuition $7/credit hour at the same retreat where it spent more than $4,000 on one meal is a curious one. If the college will be so strapped for cash in the coming years, maybe the board should look at its budget and expenditures first.
Board retreats are unquestionably essential. Board members should be given time to deliberate and discuss important issues like the growth of the college and tuition. Board retreats are necessary; $4,000 dinners are not (see ‘Trustees’ Detroit retreat: $4,000-plus for one meal,’ Page One). Surely the board deserves a nice meal while doing essential college work, but a nice meal doesn’t need to be that expensive. If nothing else, the money should have been spent in Washtenaw County.
The $150 per person dinner is not the only large board-related expense that has occurred recently. Renovations are nearly complete for the Morris Lawrence Building’s Room 150; the former classroom is being turned into a “community meeting room.” It will also be where the board’s monthly meeting is held (see ‘ML makeover tab tops $420,000,’ Front Page). A patio and garden outside of the room sound aesthetically pleasing, but the money could be spent better elsewhere.
Instead of cutting some excess expenses, the board is asking students to pay nearly 10 percent more for a WCC education. Actually, they’re saying that even with this tuition increase, they still need to trim about $1.1 million to balance the budget. Since 2006, tuition has gone up $3/credit hour a year. With some forethought, tuition could’ve been raised to a higher amount in the past, thus making this 10 percent increase unnecessary.
Educational institutions must raise tuition to retain quality, but the fact that this coincides with what appears to be an outrageous dinner bill is bad timing for the board. It simply does not show the board in a positive manner.
There is no doubt that members of the board do a tough job, and without pay. It is a position they willingly pursued with the knowledge that they would be volunteering their time to help lead the college. The Board of Trustees’ policy on “compensation and reimbursement of trustee local expenses” states in part, “By law, members of the Board, with the exception of the secretary and treasurer, may not receive compensation of any kind for their services. By College tradition, the secretary and treasurer of the Board also serve without compensation. Board members may, however, be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.”
The board is doing a tremendous job of leading WCC into the future. It is obvious it has students in mind with most every decision it makes. But in the case of the $4,000 dinner, Trustee Mark Freeman got it right when he said, “We had the opportunity to send a positive impact and we didn’t.”
Vandals strike Towsley Auditorium
A fire extinguisher is good for putting out a fire, but it’s bad for electronics — as evidenced by extensive damage done recently to lighting, sound and video equipment in Washtenaw Community College’s Towsley Auditorium.
Three fire extinguishers were sprayed on the auditorium’s stage and in the equipment booth, according to Ron Schebil, who retired March 12 as director of safety and security at WCC.
“This was a deliberate and malicious act of vandalism,” said Joshua Pardon, director of media services. He declined to give a specific amount, but estimated damage to be “tens of thousands of dollars.” That amount includes having the booth professionally cleaned.
Towsley, located in the Morris Lawrence building, is running on back-up equipment until new equipment arrives. Pardon said the back-up equipment is functional, but they’re still “operating with diminished capacity.” He expects to be fully back up and running sometime during the summer.
“I think that probably 80 to 85 percent of the events we do on any given day, you won’t notice a difference,” Pardon said, noting that the back-up equipment can’t handle complicated sound or lighting.
The end of the school year is the auditorium’s busiest time, but Pardon said his employees were able to adapt and make the best of the situation since the vandalism occurred on Feb.15.
The case was being investigated by the Washtenaw County sheriff’s department.
WCC student sings of God’s love, grace to NYC’s homeless, helpless
Cramped quarters shared with rats and mice running around her room. Alcoholics and heroin addicts surrounding her. Bunk beds feeling more like wood than a mattress. Thin walls that allowed her to hear too much about the lives of strangers in nearby rooms.
Yet for Nellie Fowkes this Spring Break mission trip to New York was a “life-changing experience” in the best of all possible ways.
While many students relaxed and took a break a few weeks ago, she went with Mosaic Church (which meets in the Morris Lawrence Building) to help others in New York City.
A 21-year-old art student from South Lyon, Fowkes stood in front of the worst New York had to offer and sang “God of This City.” She spilled her heart out to the drunk, the drugged and the broken people who had to sit through the chapel service in order to be fed.
“Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city,” she sang, giving the hopeless… hope.
At first, people didn’t respond to the messages. Typically, they were reading papers, sleeping or just zoned out from booze and drugs and the service struggled to get feedback. Once, a fight broke out and police intervened.
But on her last day. . .
“I was shaking like a leaf, not from nerves but from everyone responding and seeing God spreading through the room,” Fowkes said. “My voice was crackling, singing my heart out.
“They were standing and clapping. I dropped my guitar, losing it, just thinking about the verses we were singing.”
How great is our God.
“All my heart was in it. I walked down and put my hand to heaven. I couldn’t feel anything but God’s song coming out. So emotional.”
And all will see how great, how great, is our God.
The message of her group’s sermon and her song felt like it was finally reaching the hearts for which it was intended.
“Satan was pissed,” Fowkes said joyously.
She first picked up the guitar last August to seriously learn it, but this — here in New York City — was the first time she actually led in worship.
“It was terrifying,” Fowkes said. “During our first service, a guy walked up and slammed the Bible down and reads and says his story. It was awkward for us — but he had an awesome story.”
When she wasn’t singing, Fowkes helped serve food and clean. She did what she could, even spending hours cutting fat off of oxtails.
“I’ll never eat that,” Fowkes said with a laugh. “But it was really cool in the kitchen with the girls. We sang worship songs and really got close real fast. We didn’t really know each other before.”
Mosaic took its group of 14 to the Bowery Mission. The place they stayed helped homeless men who need a meal, shelter and structure.
“In order to stay there, you have to go to three chaplin services a day and work eight hour days,” Fowkes said. “I think the structure is good for them, because they have never had any.”
There are 82 currently in the program, but Bowery always has open arms for the homeless to come eat from off the street — as long as they sit through a church service, she said. The program is supposed to keep men there for six months, so they rebuild themselves physically and spiritually.
Fowkes spent a lot of her time fellowshipping with the people who came in. What she learned there about people is what changed her life forever.
“You’ll never understand grace until God breaks you down to the bottom, to nothing,” Fowkes said. “These people have nothing. They’re in gangs, they’ve killed. It’s not subtle homeless. It’s intense crap.
“But you also see how loveable they are. You see how it’s just oozing out of them, they want to be loved. You see these men who are unlovable and God showed us how lovable they are.”
Fowkes saw them as diamonds in the rough.
“We are all masterpieces from God, every one of us,” she said. “These men are pushed aside and told they’re worthless, but God showed us their beauty.”
Fowkes is home now, back in classes at WCC and away from a world just opened up to her. A world full of brokenness. But she’s still singing for the Lord.
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinkin’. Oh how He loves us.
WCC’s Haiti fundraiser features another world cultural celebration
Dancers and music from around the world, including Russia, India, Egypt, Niger and Cuba will be featured in the International Student Center’s Feb. 28 fundraiser for the Haitian earthquake victims.
The event begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Morris Lawrence building. Admission is $10, and all proceeds go to UNICEF and Save the Children programs towards Haiti.
Native entertainers from various countries will perform for up to five minutes each. Haitian Lee Gilles, owner of an Ann Arbor art gallery, will be the master of ceremonies.
“I look forward to the event. I’m excited to work with Cecilia [Paas],” Gilles said. “Washtenaw’s students and faculty have had tremendous support for us.”
The event will feature the following countries:
Cuba and Puerto Rico:
Jose Oliver will be singing and playing guitar of “The Entertainer,” while Teresa Velez will be doing a salsa dance.
Two dancers will perform an Egyptian belly dance.
A classical dance originating from Tamil Nadul, India called “Bharatanatyam;. And a Bollywood dance called “Dil Laga Na.”
An entertainer will sing and drum.
Gabriel Buzguta and Robert Voica will sing two songs, including the Romania national anthem.
Two girls from Russian schools will sing and dance; Liza Krylova will be dancing “The Dying Swan.”
The famous Flamenco dance, historically from southern Spain, will be performed.
Jamie Dahman, opera singer, will sing a Frank Sinatra song.
Hors d’oeuvres will be donated by the Arab American Cultural Center in Washtenaw County and the Indian community. Tickets can be purchased up to and including the day of the event. Contact Cecilia Paas for more information at (734) 677-5128.
World Cultural Celebration
RACHEL DETHLOFF WASHTENAW VOICE
A joyous Middle Eastern dancer throws up his arms in celebration.
MICHAEL WESTHOFF WASHTENAW VOICE
Tibet, including Jumpa in his traditional dress, was represented at the celebration with a display table.
RACHEL DETHLOFF WASHTENAW VOICE
This dancer displayed bhangra dancing from the Punjab region of India, a 500-year-old tradition.
MICHAEL WESTHOFF WASHTENAW VOICE
Intricate hand paintings, including mehndi henna decorations from India, are an important part of some cultures.
RACHEL DETHLOFF WASHTENAW VOICE
Evergreen senior citizen dancers from China, who range in age from 71-90, smile while demonstrating their culture.
MICHAEL WESTHOFF WASHTENAW VOICE
Dansoa Kagnassiu represented Togo in the World Cultural Celebration fashion show in Towsley Auditorium.
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