Archive for the ‘Campus Life’ Category

Sara Wilkerson, David Aston, Justin Oakes, and Emily Shim
The Montgazette Staff

“I pray that you have integrity and print the answers as I wrote them.” These were the words of shady Texas businessman turned Philadelphia-based “You’re going to Hell” Pastor Aden Rusfeldt who demonstrated on the Quad of Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus on May 2.  According to a press release from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the pastor has a 10-year history of fraudulent business practices and fake businesses that forced the U.S. CFTC to levy a $3.2 million judgment against him in September 2016.  Since then, he and his supporters have broadcasted a message of what many Philadelphia area colleges have called hate speech. This was Rustfeldt’s first visit to Montco.

In his book, “Open Air Fire: Principles of Open Air Outreach,”  Rusfeldt  outlines his reasons for preaching the way he does. Rusfeldt writes, “I love to ask people, ‘How loving is God that He makes a specific list you can read of sins that will keep you out of heaven? That is how much God loves you.”

Rusfeldt said that his demonstration at Montco was against sin, “Because sinning hurts people.”  His supporters held up signs that reflected his “specific list” of people “going to Hell.” These sinners on a particular banner, according to student eyewitness Mara  Witsen  included, “Homo[sexuals], Muslims, Cow worshippers… Racists [specifically] the KKK and Black Lives Matter, Money Lovers, Mama’s Boys, Witches, Gamers, Cutters, Brats, Emos, Rebellious Women, Punks, Liars, Sissies, the Pope, Party Animals, Gangster Rappers, Rock-and-Roll Freaks, So-Called Christians…” And the list went on.

“They’ve got a right to say what they want to say. But, I mean, at the same time I think it goes against what they were trying to say, because, I mean… Jesus also said ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ That’s not what they were doing,” Ethan Harris, who also witnessed the demonstration event, said.

The signs and shouting drew in a crowd of dozens of Montco students who kept their distance and later drowned out the preaching with music and heckling.

“I’ll be honest with you, [I’ve been] here almost 20 years, I don’t remember anything like that before,”  Montco’s  Senior Producer and Technical Services Supervisor Matt Porter said of the demonstration. “They have a right to be here. Let them have their [say] but let it be known [the students] didn’t necessarily agree. And I think I was proud of our students for keeping it peaceful, but voicing their opinion loud and clear that this was not necessarily the opinion that they agreed with.” Harris added, “I think it was a positive experience in that it united a lot of people in the college setting. Which with community college it’s harder to do that than per se a four-year [college].”

Rusfeldt’s group’s hate speech-laden preaching didn’t last long. They still shouted at the students as they left Campus at their own will, with an escort from Montco’s Public Safety Team at 2:45 p.m.

The question remains, however, will a preacher with little business integrity and a long list of his own sins return to Montco?

Brittney Baldwin_Protester Sign

Pastor Aden Rusfeldt and his group hold protest banners for MCCC students and faculty to read as they preached for several hours on Central Campus. Photo courtesy of Brittney Baldwin




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Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Editor-in-Chief

During the spring semester, members of Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus Honors Club participated in a campuswide garbage audit service project that involved collecting and sorting trash from Parkhouse Hall, the Advanced Technology Center, the Science Center and College Hall to determine how much the College’s students and faculty are not recycling on a given day. The results of the audit, which were revealed to the student body during Central Campus’ Earth Day, show that on a given day, 46% of the trash collected in the audit could’ve been recycled.

Preparations of the garbage audit service project were made weeks prior to the audit day to ensure that participating members of the project knew the basics of how to conduct a trash audit to what materials are and are not recyclable. The preparations involved attending group discussion meetings and presentations, gathering supplies, and creating data charts and layout collection plans of the sampled buildings.

On the morning of the audit day, from 9 to 11:30, Honors Club members split into teams to collect trash from public areas, open classrooms and offices of the sampled Central Campus buildings. Following a brief break after the trash collection, from 12 to 3pm, the members piled and sorted through all the collected trash on a tarp in the Campus’ Quad for the college public to see the audit take place. The sorting of the trash itself was organized into categorized buckets; categories included but were not limited to: “Trash: Food Waste”, “Trash: Dirty Paper”, “Recyclables: Plastics” and “Recyclables: Electronics”.

When asked about what she found interesting about the trash audit, Dr. O’Brien, the faculty advisor of the project, replied, “I was surprised to find a cache of AAA batteries in the trash from the Science Center, as well as the large amount of plastic in [the building’s] trash. I was also surprised at how much food waste is in our garbage, and we didn’t even collect garbage from the cafeteria or the various cafes on campus.”

The importance of the audit, despite its challenges that it presented to the Honors Club group, was not lost amongst its participating members.

When asked about why she personally wanted to conduct this trash audit on campus, Kaitlyn Aston, one of the many volunteers in the project, stated, “I think it’s really beneficial to get a start on showing others how important it is
to recycle because being able to recycle things helps us to [reuse] more so we use less trash… It’s helping our environment as a whole, even further down the road, and we’re not only impacting the people today, but also the next generation on. ”

The Honors Club wishes to thank those who have helped make this service project possible, including but not limited to Montgomery County’s Recycling Coordinator, Veronica Harris, Biology professor Jerry Coleman, the Supervisor of Custodial Operations at the College, Steve Choyce, the Honors Program Coordinator, Dr. Sam Wallace and Dr. Lynn O’Brien, the faculty advisor of the project.


Honors student volunteers sort through collected trash from Central Campus buildings. Photo by Erin Ilisco


Honors student volunteers collect trash for sorting. Photo by Erin Ilisco


MCCC student volunteers weigh buckets of sorted trash. Photo by Erin Ilisco


Results from the audit conclude that 46% – nearly half of the trash sorted on the audit day – should’ve been recycled. To combat this issue, the Honors Club encourages the College comm to recycle as often as possible! Photo by Erin Ilisco

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Rahul Thevar
The Montgazette Contributor

Montgomery County Community College will have a new course at West Campus. The course was created by Professor Susan Buchler and Veterans Resource Specialist Denise Williams. The course is English 265 and it is a Creative Writing class specifically for veterans. It will be available in the alternating Monday nights in the fall, starting on Sept. 11, 2017 for those of all military experience.

When asked for comment on the newly created course, Denise Williams stated, “Montgomery County Community College has [a] large veteran population. Professor Buchler and I felt there was a need for a course where it [was] tailored to the veteran population where they can talk with others that share similar experiences. Several Vietnam vets live in the Pottstown area. English 265 is a pilot program that will hopefully aid in instilling a sense of pride and satisfaction in past military experiences, encourage camaraderie, and encourage creative thinking.”

Professor Buchler also commented on the English 265 course by stating, “If the course is successful, the college may consider offering it at the Blue Bell Campus. I love to read and write. I think writing is cathartic… like a balm to the spirit. It is my hope that veterans who register for this class will be encouraged to tell stories that they haven’t told, sing songs in writing that they have not sang, and create wonderful tapestries that they haven’t yet created.”

Any Veterans interested in taking English 265 in Fall 2017, contact Denise Williams at the Veterans’ Resource Center by phone: 610-7181839 or by email: dwilliams@mc3.edu for more information and to enroll.


Veteran’s Resource Center on Central Campus. Visit the Center to find more information about ENG 265! Photo by Brittany Baldwin

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Hannah Nearpass
The Montgazette Contributor

Calling all coffee lovers! Coffee holds a very special place in the hearts of the 83% of adults in America who consume coffee daily. “I’d be so groggy without it,” says Sarah Haplin, a student at Montgomery County Community College, who drinks two to three cups of coffee a day, seven days a week, but where does she get her coffee? Sarah spends thirty dollars a week, one hundred and twenty dollars a month on coffee at Wawa. She does not buy her coffee on campus.

“It tastes awful,” Haplin says in regards to the coffee that she has experienced on campus. The College offers four food services on Central Campus. Other than the College Hall cafeteria, Park Place in Parkhouse Hall, Books and Bytes in College Hall, and the Portal Café or One Village Coffee in the Advanced Technology Center all offer coffee to students on campus.

Books and Bytes is referred to by students as the campus Starbucks. The café carries Starbucks products and serves items such as ice coffees, Frappuccino’s, lattes, and so forth. However, some students are unsatisfied. “Starbucks here is awful,” says student Jared Jackson. He continues, “I hear they leave (the products) out too long.”

An employee at Books and Bytes in College Hall, self-proclaimed lifetime Montgomery County Community College student Jake Harrison, unveiled the truth behind all the gossip. “Not all of our products are from Starbucks,” Harrison informs. With a couple of people waiting in line for the coffee services, it did not seem that everyone shared the same opinion of Sarah Haplin or Jared Jackson. Jake also went on to say that Books and Bytes is open to hearing student suggestions. If suggestions are within reason and realistic, the staff is more than willing to take them into consideration.

One Village Coffee, too, is open to suggestions. Mary Koutsouros runs the coffee spot located in the Advanced Technology Center and offered her input on behalf of her café. “All of our coffee is (distributed by) One Village Coffee, right out of Harleysville.” Mary elaborates, “I grind my beans fresh, measure them, and brew.” Mary also is willing to consider advised preferences and potential improvements.

If you are an unsatisfied student that has a craving for coffee, you can improve the circumstances and be the change. Express your opinion and share advice with the local cafes on campus. The businesses are more than willing to listen and they’re likely to adapt to customer preferences within reason to brighten student’s days, with a little help of caffeine!

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Photos courtesy of MCCC Communications Dept.

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Sashea Cooper
The Montgazette Contributor

The Community college is not like high school. Students don’t have their old cliques anymore, the classes are hours long, and it is almost impossible to get through it alone. Community College is the best way to get a higher education economically, but even with cost-efficient education, students drop out. There are plenty of reasons why this happens. One reason in particular would be social involvement within the college.

Students join clubs that are relative to their major or interests to connect with the college more. Getting more involved helps build friendships with other students. Having a friend in college is beneficial because the students can form study groups together. It gives them the motivation to keep up with their due dates and attendance.

Bill Gates once said, “The problem isn’t that not enough people are going to college. The problem is that not enough people are finishing.” Gates is a college drop-out himself and he told The New York Times that it is important that you do graduate. The advisors at community colleges encourage students to take the opportunity to join the clubs on campus and participate in all classroom activities. Montgomery County Community College has many clubs to offer that fit a variety of interests. They will also work with anyone dealing with a tight schedule.

The website collegescorecard.ed.gov has the community college graduation rates from 2014: Delaware County Community College was 15%, Bucks County Community College was 12%, Community College of Philadelphia was 10%, and Montgomery County Community College was 16%.

The community college graduation rates are so low because of the students’ lack of interest. When most students drop out, they go straight into the workforce, making less than what they could be making if they graduated and received a degree. After speaking with four college dropouts, one claimed to just like the workforce better than school and three out of the four admitted that they were companionless and unmotivated. These graduation rates can increase with a little help from college advisors and leaders.

On the College’s website in the campus life category, there is a section called Student Leadership and Involvement. In that section, there is a paragraph about getting involved that says, “Being engaged in campus life can make all the difference in your time here. Our Student Leadership and Involvement Office supports your academic, social, cultural and personal growth through programs and activities that create a true sense of community among students, faculty and staff.” This shows that community colleges are trying to increase their graduation rates by getting their students to connect with the college.

Social involvement within a college is what pushes students to graduate. Students should join clubs and participate in campus activities to stay connected with the college and successfully graduate.

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Sara Wilkerson
The Montgazette Co-Editor

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honors society dedicated to bettering society through Scholarship, Fellowship, Leadership and Service. Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) has two chapters at MCCC: Alpha Kappa Zeta (AKZ) for Central campus and Beta Tau Lamba (BTL) for West campus. Both PTK chapters held their bi-annual Induction Ceremonies in March to welcome the new members of PTK this spring.

PTK hosts over 700 chapters nationwide for two year college institutions and has a vast network of alumni groups at four year institutions. The society began as an effort to give opportunities for scholars that reach beyond academics and allow students to give back to their communities while helping them transfer into four year institutions.

In order to attain membership with Phi Theta Kappa, students must have a 3.5 GPA and maintain a 3.0 once inducted. In addition, students must have at least 12 credit hours towards an associate’s degree as well as receive an invitation from a PTK chapter. If students meet this criteria, there is a $65 one-time membership fee that must be paid and submitted with a PTK application. Upon acceptance, students have the option of attending a formal induction ceremony hosted by their PTK chapter, where they are inducted through verbal and written pledges in front of their peers and families.

Following inductions, newly inducted members join their fellow chapter members in monthly meetings that can determine their involvement. When describing the level of involvement in PTK, Alpha Kappa Zeta President Alison Giles stated, “… you get what you give. If you want opportunities for scholarships, volunteering, leadership roles, project development, and community engagement, you’ll find that in PTK. In my experience, these opportunities have led to even more opportunities, and my time at MCCC has come to be defined in large part by my involvement…”

Past projects between the two MCCC PTK chapters include AKZ’s 2015 Alternative Spring Break Project “Imagine No Homelessness” and BTL’s annual cleanups of the Schuylkill Riverfront Park.

Currently, AKZ’s efforts in participating in “honors in action” projects, along with their substantial membership roster, have made the chapter a notable five star chapter in the PTK organization. AKZ is working with Central campus’ tutoring center this semester to reform their services. According to Alison Giles, Alpha Kappa Zeta’s goal is to, “… get the word out that the tutors are here and are waiting, they’re available no matter what kind of schedule you have, and there’s no shame in seeking the help you need, especially if that’s all that is standing in the way of you reaching your goals.”

Despite being an international  honors society, Phi Theta Kappa makes differences locally through its chapters, with MCCC’s very own chapters making no exception.

For more information about MCCC’s PTK chapters, contact an advisor: The  Central Campus advisors are Catherine Parzynski (CParzyns@mc3.edu) and Cathy Hoult Shewring (CHoultSh@mc3. edu). The West Campus advisors are Georgette Howell (GHowell@mc3.edu) and Kevin Strunk (KStrunk@mc3.edu).

5_Yanisko_PTK Leadership Team_PTK

Alpha Kappa Zeta’s Leadership Team — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

4_Yanisko_PTK New Inductees_PTK

Congratulations to the new members of Alpha Kappa Zeta! — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

3_Yanisko_Keynote Speaker Sam Wallace_PTK

Samuel Wallace; Keynote Speaker — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

1_Yanisko_MCCC Pres. Kevin Pollock_PTK

Dr. Kevin Pollock; MCCC President — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

2_Yanisko_PTK Pres. Alison Giles_PTK

Alison Giles; Alpha Kappa Zeta President — Photo courtesy of Sandi Yanisko and Dan Hanson

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