HLC Self Study
Chapter 8 Graphic

Student Engagement

Estrella Mountain Community College is strongly committed to offering programs and services that involve stakeholders. Understanding that a student’s success is strongly linked to their connection to the institution, Estrella Mountain continually strives to implement programs and services that engage all constituencies and communities.

Student Life and Leadership

Student Life and Leadership at Estrella Mountain Community College fosters student engagement through comprehensive program offerings. The purpose of the programs and activities offered by the Office of Student Life and Leadership is to assist in the overall development of the student. Student involvement in these programs and activities directly aligns with the Estrella Mountain mission of helping learners accomplish their educational and personal goals. Such student involvement also aids in the development of skills in the areas of time management, conflict resolution, cultural understanding, academic success, and leadership development.

Estrella Mountain students stay engaged, both inside and outside of the classroom, through partnerships between curricular courses (e.g., art, science, economics, sociology) and co-curricular student clubs such as Art, Environmental, Social Awareness, and Entrepreneurs. These pairings facilitate an environment that fosters the social, academic and professional growth of students through leadership development opportunities, community involvement and co-curricular activities. 

Working collaboratively with other areas of the College, the Office of Student Life and Leadership provides the following types of programs and opportunities to facilitate student engagement among diverse groups and communities:

  • Social Programs: These events help students build new relationships, strengthen existing relationships, develop cultural understanding, and develop a feeling of campus community
  • Edutainment: These programs bring students together to learn and develop cultural awareness, social skills and historical information while having fun at the same time
  • Community Service: Estrella Mountain students provide clothing and materials to local shelters, distributed meals to needy families for Thanksgiving, volunteered at local animal shelters, and raised money for local charities
  • Student Groups: The Office of Student Life and Leadership houses 24 active clubs, organizations and Student Government. The Interclub Council brings the clubs together for events, training and decision-making

Student Clubs and Organizations

The number of students participating in student clubs and organizations has increased, as have student-led programs. For the 2010-2011 academic year, approximately 450 students participated in student clubs and organizations. Examples of the many diverse groups in which students choose to participate at Estrella Mountain include:

  • Christian Challenge
  • International Club
  • Forensics Club
  • Men of Color Association (M.O.C.A.)
  • Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A)
  • Veterans Club
  • Writing Circle
  • Social Awareness Club
  • P.R.I.D.E. (gay and straight student alliance)
  • Black Student Union (B.S.U.)
  • Phi Theta Kappa
  • Asian Pacific Islander Club
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Club

Student Government

Student Government is a new development at the College and consists of members of Estrella Mountain’s student clubs and organizations. Elected by the Inter-Club Council and serving one-year terms, the executive body consists of a President, Vice President, Marketing Director, Leadership Council Representative, and Secretary. The purpose of the Estrella Mountain Student Government is to promote and maintain, with the cooperation of the administration and faculty, a democratic community life that meets the intellectual, moral, physical, and social needs of the student body while fostering the rights and privileges of all students.

Student Government serves as a platform for all student groups to share information and discuss various issues related to students. As a result, several new initiatives have come to fruition. One such initiative is the Estrella Cares program. For the 2010-2011 academic year, the program provided food, shelter, services, and scholarships to Estrella Mountain students in need. In another example, Student Government volunteered at a local West Valley hospital throughout the year, providing help for patients as they recovered from surgery. Student Government also plays a key role in increasing the collaboration between clubs and organizations by sponsoring several programs and activities throughout the year.

Athletics

In fall 2010, Estrella Mountain Community College entered its first year of intercollegiate competition in the areas of Men’s Golf, Women’s Golf, Men’s Cross Country, and Women’s Cross Country. The philosophy of the Athletics program is to assist student athletes as they strive for and achieve excellence in all areas of their college experience: academic, athletic, social, and personal. College coaches, staff and administrators are committed to assisting student athletes in reaching their learning goals both on and off the field.

A total of 19 students participated in Estrella Mountain Athletics in 2010-2011. One student on the men’s golf team competed in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Men’s Golf Championship in Odessa, Texas. Another student on the men’s cross country team accomplished finishing times that placed him in the top 50 percent of all NJCAA runners.

Service Learning

Service Learning provides opportunities for students to engage and make meaningful connections with community organizations.  Estrella Mountain has a core group of dedicated faculty members utilizing the powerful tool of Service Learning in their classes. Examples of Service Learning projects at Estrella Mountain include:

  • Immunization projects for Head Start and other groups
  • Visits to homeless shelters, clinics and health fairs
  • On-campus health-related activities such as blood sugar and cholesterol tests and blood pressure screenings
  • Height/weight, vision and hearing tests at elementary schools
  • Community event “shot clinics” to clients who do not have insurance 
  • Income tax preparation for those who cannot afford to pay for tax preparation
  • Recycle, repurpose and resell donated clothing (e.g., t-shirts turned into shopping bags, skirts, girls’ dresses, baby blankets)
  • Fundraising walks for various causes 
  • Collection drives 
  • Food banks
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Social issue letter writing campaign

During the fall 2010 semester, a residential faculty member conducted a Service Learning audit at Estrella Mountain with the following goals: identify current/recent Service Learning initiatives in the classroom at the College, and identify some needs and resources available in order to support Service Learning efforts.

The Service Learning audit reflected opportunity for significant growth in the field, as there are many service agencies in the West Valley. For individually motivated faculty members interested in implementing Service Learning in their respective courses, several Maricopa County Community College District resources exist. Estrella Mountain is considering the best practices of colleges with Service Learning programs (e.g., inclusion in the strategic planning process) and recommendations from faculty and previous program coordinators regarding the need for resources to support a formal Service Learning Program (e.g., risk assessment guidance). Estrella Mountain also recognizes that an essential first step to formalizing a Service Learning program is to establish a Service Learning Advisory Committee and commit institutional resources.