Fremont Voted Happiest City

Fremont, CA, adjacent to Silicon Valley, has been voted the happiest city in America. It is a city with beautiful scenery and the ability to live and be a part of the community. 

In an interview with Fremont’s Mayor, Lily Mei, she mentions that she “wants to be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problems.” It is very clear that Mayor Mei is very dedicated to keeping the city that she represents happy and healthy, and frequently boasts about things she and her team have been able to accomplish throughout her term. 

Speaking of accomplishments, Fremont was recently recognized by the Department of Energy, also in the interview with Mei, she says, “We were just recognized by the Department of Energy as being the first so-smart platinum city in the United States.” Which means that Mei and her team were trying to get people to go solar, and “give people incentives through solar app plus.” 

For example, she expressed the importance of building a downtown event center in order to bring the community together. In the interview, Mei states, “Since it’s opened, we’ve had at least 180 rentals and about 800 events there, so things like that can bring the community together.” 

Lily Mei prides herself on the diversity within the community, she states that “We [Fremont] have one of the nation’s largest Asian community by percentage.” Fremont also hosts Indian Heritage events, as well events for other communities. 

Fremont has 64 parks, said Mayor Mei, as well as seven East Bay Regional Parks and Trails, and has built 500 units for senior living, with a bunch of activities for the seniors who live in Fremont, too. 

Mayor Mei takes immense pride in community events too. Speaking of which, the city of Fremont had it’s second annual Restaurant week, an event from March 22- March 30 catered to finding new diverse restaurants. Fremont will also be hosting bike month, as well as a July 4 parade. 

Mayor Mei said that it was “her second and final term as mayor,” and she is focused on education. Fremont currently holds the title as having the only School for the Blind in the state of California, and one of two Schools for the Deaf.

Lily Mei believes that the biggest part of a community is unity and that it is a great place to call home. Fremont is home to so much cultural diversity, religious or otherwise. Fremont is also working on affordability and cost of living.

Greg Rees vs. CLPCCD: Uncovering the Decades-Long Dispute

What initially started as a wrongful termination allegation has now spiraled into a
nearly two-decade-long discourse between Gregory Rees and the Chabot Las Positas
Community College District (CLPCCD).

Gregory Rees, former Chabot College Campus Security Officer, and his colleague,
Gregory Correa, former Chabot College Maintenance Technician, shared their experience through the ongoing conflict in an interview with The Spectator.

The offices of Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Wyman Fong, and the
Chancellor of the District Ron Gerhard were contacted, however, they declined to comment as they are “unable to comment on personnel matters.” The district provided a 20-page partially redacted document from November of 2023, the latest public record available, in lieu of commenting.

While the document is redacted to protect Rees’ privacy, it addresses several
allegations made by Rees in regard to different CLPCCD Board of Trustees members.
Rees and Correa presented 25 documents detailing various incidents that are alleged to
have occurred involving both current and former Trustees and Chabot employees.

In addition to his role as Camus Security Officer, Rees also claims he acted as the
district’s internal affairs investigator at times. During our interview, he stated, “It was my
responsibility to make sure all of our local and district rules were obeyed and followed,
particularly when it came to accounting procedure and so on.”

In its public record, the district confirms Rees’ employment, stating, “Rees was hired as
a temporary short-term Security Officer in 1987, a position that was renewed annually until he was given a permanent position as Security Officer in 1992.”

The following paragraph was redacted, but the document goes on to state, “Rees was
reclassified as a Business Services Officer in 1995.”

Rees disputes this statement, claiming that he was approved as a full-time employee
before 1989. He also noted that he was on duty during the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.

Two men standing together observing.
Photo provided by Greg Rees of him and Officer Jack Bishop on campus in 1989 inspecting damages from the earthquake

Another one of Rees’ claims is that he is owed three reimbursement checks in the
amount of $1400 each. He claims that two of these checks were in Wyman Fong’s
possession, and the third was in Ron Gerhard’s possession.

To receive these checks, Rees was allegedly presented with a 19-point document in
which he was to agree to all 19 conditions to receive these checks. This document was
claimed to have been presented to him by former interim Chancellor Susan Cota.

According to Rees, “When [Cota] had returned as interim chancellor, she apparently
drafted this 19-point document and then assigned brand new Vice Chancellor of Business Services at that time, Ron Gerhard, to present that document to me along with the check.”

He stated, “To receive that check, I had to acknowledge those 19 points,
initial each one, and then sign and date the bottom. One of the points that was made is that I had never been wrongfully terminated.”

Chancellor Ron Gerhard’s office responded to a request to comment on this claim
saying they were unable to comment on personnel matters.

The district provided a public record listing 23 allegations made by Rees. Allegations 7 through 10 address checks totaling $4,200 that Rees claims he was due.
These allegations date back to February 2009, which is well beyond any statute of
limitations.”

The document further addressed the allegations, stating, “[Rees and Correa] also
allege Penal Code violations that would have been within the jurisdiction of law enforcement authorities to address. [These allegations] do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Though the district claims that Rees’ complaint is beyond the statute of limitations,
they neither confirmed nor denied the presentation of a 19-point document to Rees.

Another significant incident that Rees and Correa discussed was an alleged assault
by Chabot College Vice President of Administrative Services Dale Wagoner. Correa claims to be a witness to the alleged assault that happened on Dec. 6, 2006.

Rees alleges that during a conversation with MacGreagor Wright and Jack Bishop immediately outside of the former Campus Safety office, Wagoner came in and assaulted him. Unbeknownst to the two other alleged witnesses, Correa also witnessed the incident.

Correa stated in the interview that “l saw that event. I had heard there was something
going on. I heard [Wagoner], that’s what I first heard. And instead of going out and looking, the doors are right there, I just leaned back and looked.”

He continued to share, “I go, why is Greg being pinned? And [Wagoner] is over him,
and pushed him maybe six feet backward.”

Rees and Correa both claim that there was no formal investigation done by Chabot
or the district. However, Rees did end up filing a police report with Hayward Police
Department.

Before Rees filed a police report, Wright, who was serving as the Director of Campus
Safety at the time, according to Rees, declined to provide a witness statement. Unfortunately, Bishop, a retired and now deceased Campus Security Officer, declined to provide a witness statement as well.

When asked for comment on the situation, Wagoner stated, “Mr. Rees’s claims are
totally fallacious. Never touched him…the interaction where he claimed the assault was all
verbal, and voices were not raised, it was matter of fact dialogue, nothing more.”

The district’s response to these claims is, “Allegations 21 and 22 relate to an alleged
assault by a District manager [Wagoner] against Rees. This is a reference to an incident that occurred in December 2006. Rees’s assault allegation was investigated by the Hayward Police Department; the Alameda County District Attorney decided not to prosecute.”

The following few sentences were redacted, but the last sentence in the paragraph
states, “These allegations also do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Another claim by Rees is that his wife, Sandi Perry-Rees, was sexually harassed. Rees claims that Perry-Rees had been called his “warmongering whore wife,” by Rees’
former supervisor, Vice President Farhad Javaharipour, of Chabot College Business
Services.

Rees claims that there was another witness during this incident as well who is unavailable to comment due to health concerns.

The district addressed this claim in the document, stating, “Allegation 18 relates to
alleged sexual harassment of Rees’s wife ‘years ago’ – again, beyond any relevant statute of limitation. They also do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Rees and Correa have attended countless board meetings to address these
incidents and claim to possess substantial evidence in support of their several grievances.

A man named Greg Rees standing at a podium, addressing a group of people.
Screenshot of video from Public Comments during district meeting by Greg Rees
A man named Greg Correa standing at a podium, addressing a group of people.
Screenshot of video from Public Comments during district meeting by Greg Correa

Despite citing potential violations of specific board policies and federal laws, the board
maintains a firm position regarding its lack of authority in Rees’ and Correa’s claims.

Rees’ final statements in our interview were about his intentions with the district
moving forward. “Until an injustice has been properly satisfied and justice has been served, I’m not going anywhere. At some point in time, the district is going to have to honor my request.”

He continued to state, “I’m investigating everybody and anything that has to do with
me, mine, and so on. One way or another, this is going to get taken care of.”

Correa plans to call for a federal investigation. He also stated, “I’ll never leave [Rees’]
side, because [the district] knows that we’re right. They just can’t face the truth, and the truth will set you free, and I’m free.”

The district’s final statement in its provided document states, “For years, Rees and Mr. Correa have appeared at the Board’s monthly public meetings making appeals for justice that have been laced with accusations, finger-pointing, and occasional profanity. Rees’s right to Free Speech is unquestioned, but the efficacy of monthly, vituperative attacks on Trustees over stale claims those Trustees were not even involved in, and that the District had no opportunity to defend, is elusive.”

Rees responded to this statement by stating, “I have not used profanity in my Public
Comments other than to accurately describe incidents. It is also my First Amendment right. I took the time to conduct some research with CA School Board Trustee Associations. The bottom line is that per their legal counsel and court rulings, we can criticize any district employee or trustee. No matter how harsh that criticism is or described.“

As the outcome regarding Rees and Correa’s demands for justice is uncertain, it
appears that both sides are holding firm on their positions in this dispute.

Part-Time Teacher Health Benefits

Part time health care options for faculty will drastically improve next year. The District and the Faculty Association (FA) have signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  that will extend to part time faculty, the very same benefits that are provided for full time faculty.

As of now, the District offers health benefits to those who don’t have access to coverage through another source, Kelsey Piaz, who is an adjunct instructor in Communication Studies, and the part-time representative on the Faculty Association at Chabot added, “the role of the Faculty Association is to discuss issues that directly concern the faculty within the Chabot-Las Positas District.”

These changes to health benefits will be effective in Fall 2024, which are the same benefits that are provided to full time faculty, as previously stated. These changes are more accurately described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Both the MOU and Collective Bargaining Agreement are available on the District HR website.

Enrollment periods for part time faculty occur twice a year, as staff must re-enroll for benefits. To receive benefits, faculty must be eligible, which, according to the FA, means “that staff must work 40% or more over the past year, and affirm that they don’t have paid health care by another source.” The eligibility requirements will remain the same, except for a minor change involving the eligibility year, including the summer term for the July open enrollment period.

The memorandum of understanding, is a document that applies to the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, as well as the Chabot-Las Positas Faculty Association (FA). In this document, eligibility criteria, medical plan, and enrollment, payments, multi-district part time Faculty, continuity of coverage for part time faculty, and continuing eligibility and cessation of eligibility are thoroughly evaluated, and discussed. The MOU was signed by David Fouquet, the FA President, and Ronald P. Gerhard, the Chancellor of the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District on December 12th, 2023.

Recognizing who made this possible, Chancellor Ron Gerhard, and Vice Chancellors Wyman Fong and Jonah Nicholas, all of whom acknowledge the importance and influence of implementing this new system for part time employees who need it.

The Gladiator Hub

Nicole Harden, Khammany Mathavongsy, Elizabeth Maggio, Stefanie Montouth, Saleem Gilmore, and Muna Taqi-Eddin

Chabot College’s closed bookstore, building 3800, is set to be transformed into the Gladiator Hub, a new space dedicated to supporting student equity and success, as announced by Director Saleem Gilmore. The Hub will offer study areas, computing resources, and a lounge area for student engagement.

Since the Bookstore was removed, Saleem Gilmore, the Director of Student Equity and Success, has a very important role in the revival of the building. In the words of Mr. Gilmore, “The Student Equity Office is to support students’ basic needs in an effort to ensure success, and in time, we’ll have areas for students to study, computers for students enrolling in classes, and a lounge area for students just kick it.”

Saleem Gilmore, who formerly taught in Oakland and San Francisco, produced comfortable spaces for the purpose of student engagement in the college environment. In the interview, Gilmore explained that he wanted to provide students with resources.

Gilmore mentioned that “As an entrepreneur, He developed many programs specific to students, So I partnered with school districts,” Gilmore reflected on his other experiences establishing leadership development programs. The College Access Center at the University of San Francisco and the Center for Student Equity and Success Center at Cal State East Bay are both examples of the work he and his team have done to create a welcoming atmosphere for students.

Gilmore and his team have worked tirelessly to find the best way to improve the experience of what will soon be known as the Gladiator Hub. This Hub will provide a sense of community for students and will feature a fresh market pantry so students and staff can make coffee and get food for free.

 Nicole Harden, Khammany Mathavongsy, Elizabeth Maggio (Director, SparkPoint), Stefanie Montouth (Interim Student Resources Program Manager in the Student Equity Department), Saleem Gilmore, and Muna Taqi-Eddin (CalFresh Outreach Specialist) are the ones behind the creation of the Resource Hub, and are responsible for making this change happen.

Chabot’s Destress Workshop

In a bid to shine a light on the significance of black health and overall well-being, an insightful and uplifting event was held on February 5. Organized by David Irving, the event aimed to impart invaluable knowledge on stress management while equipping participants with practical techniques to cultivate relaxation and peace in their daily lives.

During the event, David Irving delved into various stress-relief methods, including walking and silent meditation. However, his most resonant message centered on dispelling the misconception that taking breaks equates to laziness. He stressed that allocating time to do nothing is not only acceptable but also productive for mental and emotional well-being. Irving’s insight prompted attendees to acknowledge the value of self-care and to embrace moments of rest without guilt.

A highlight of the event was the opportunity for participants to engage in a hands-on activity: making scented slime as a means of de-stressing. Irving expressed his hopes of hosting similar workshops in the future to support African Americans in navigating their day-to-day struggles. This event served as a poignant reminder of the need to prioritize self-care and relaxation within marginalized communities.

David Irving’s event successfully shed light on crucial aspects of black health and well-being, fostering a dialogue around the importance of self-care practices. As communities continue to navigate challenges, events like these play a vital role in promoting holistic wellness and resilience.

From Spider-Man to Sushi, Chabot Students Rank Their Favorite Pop Culture/Campus Moments of 2023

As 2024 comes to a close, a survey of Chabot College students highlights their favorite campus and pop culture moments of the year. Students were asked to nominate the best movie, TV show, food trend, and tour of the year. For campus moments, students were asked to nominate the best parking lot, cafeteria food, study spot, and professor. The Spectator News team came together to decide the majority winners.

Starting with the best movie, it seems that Chabot students were fans of a particular Marvel superhero. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the majority of nominations for best movie. Coming in at a close second was everyone’s favorite doll, Barbie.

While many hit series came out in 2023, it seemed that most agreed that The Bear and The Last of Us were the best. The results were almost neck and neck with these two shows. Students can look forward to watching these storylines continue as both shows have been renewed for new seasons.

Many food trends break the internet, but none this year had the same impact as Girl Dinner. The trend began when women shared their Girl Dinner, which usually consisted of multiple snacks in one meal. This became so popular that multiple fast food restaurants added limited edition Girl Dinner meals to their menus which usually consisted of all side dishes.

For the music lovers of the world, 2023 was an amazing year for touring. With big artists like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, SZA, and Drake on tour simultaneously, this year was one for the books. Out of all these big names, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé shined the brightest to Chabot students as the Eras Tour and Renaissance tour was nominated the most for best tour of the year. 

With yet another win for Beyoncé, students agree that she was the best musical artist of the year. She broke records with her 2022 Renaissance album, which led to a massively successful tour in 2023. She made history this year, becoming the most Grammy award-winning artist of all time with 32 awards to her name. 

As for best campus moments, students almost unanimously nominated parking Lot B as the best parking lot on campus. With its proximity to the cafeteria, the decision only makes sense for the foodies of Chabot.

The foodies also agree that sushi was the best cafeteria food this year. Hopefully, students will continue to see this dish on Chabot’s menu.

For the best studying spot, yet another almost unanimous decision was made. The library was nominated for being the prime place for a good study session.

Lastly, students voted for the best instructor on campus, and Thomas DeWitt came out as the champion. His commitment to improving student’s literary skills is admirable and students appreciate him for it. 

The results are in, and the students have spoken. The Spectator wishes everyone at Chabot a happy holiday season and good luck next semester. 

Silicon Valley Unsung Hero: Roy L Clay Sr.

Roy L Clay Sr.

Photographed by: Onyx Truth

 Silicon Valley is the hub of technological innovation, home to hundreds of companies. Roy L. Clay Sr., also known as The Godfather of Silicon Valley, is responsible for its success. He was a founding member of Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) first computer division, which put Silicon Valley on the map. This, and his many other technological ventures,  played a crucial role in establishing several enterprises to increase the representation of African Americans in the city of technology. Yet his legacy is not known to the general public. One of his sons, Rodney Clay, stated that “if you ask a kid now, who created Silicon Valley? They’ll probably say Mark Zuckerberg. They might even go back and say…Bill Gates. But they can’t go much farther than that.” 

Despite facing the barriers of segregation, Clay’s determination and hard work earned him a scholarship to study mathematics at Saint Louis University. While he had a passion for baseball, he chose to focus on his academic goals and was among the first African Americans to graduate from SLU.

After spending some time working as a teacher, Clay eventually landed an interview for McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. But despite his qualifications, he was told, “I’m very sorry, we don’t hire professional Negroes.” While he would eventually reapply and land a job with the corporation, it was at his next job and his move to Palo Alto, California, in 1962, that marked the beginning of a journey that would lead him to greatness.

In 1958, Clay ended up working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he would write software for the U.S. Department of Energy. This software would display how radiation particles would spread after a nuclear explosion. As word spread about the work he was doing at the lab, it would eventually be caught by David Packard, who would personally recruit Clay to Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Joining HP in 1965 was another step toward his goal. With his unwavering determination and leadership skills, Clay helped launch and lead the computer science division in 1965, leaving a lasting impact on the world of technology. The creation of the HP 2116A minicomputer launched the company into the world of computers. This launch was viewed as a negative by HP’s co-founder Bill Hewlett, who was paraphrased by Clay’s son Rodney, as saying “you’ve [Clay] done us a disservice. You’ve gotten us into the computer industry. I [Hewlett] want you to get us out of it.” 

Additionally, Clay held the highest-ranking position of any African-American member or staff at HP until he left in 1971 to pursue his dream of starting a consulting business. His expertise and dedication helped Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital firm, identify investments that became some of the biggest names in tech, such as Tandem Computers. Yet Clay was not finished when it came to how many accomplishments one could achieve. 

He would make another mark on history when he became the first African American to be elected to Palo Alto City Council in 1973. A white friend of Clay had been the one to encourage him into running for local politics. This venture would eventually lead to him becoming vice mayor for two years (1976-77).

In 1977, Clay started ROD-L Electronics. One of his sons, Rodney, explained, “Safety testing is what ROD Electronics is about. We started selling our equipment to companies manufacturing all kinds of electrical things, from printers to copy machines and computers. Our goal was to sell to every company that was building electrical products so that they would use our tester to verify the safety of their test. They could put an underwriter laboratory sticker on their product, put it in a box, and know they’ll be okay. And that’s what Rod Electronics is all about, so we built the equipment that allowed other manufacturers to do that test.”

It is an undeniable fact that Clay had to confront racism even after becoming the first African-American member of the Olympic Club of San Francisco in 1989. It is worth noting that this club has a long history, established in 1860, but until 1989, no minorities or women were permitted to become members.

Rodney Clay said how the members felt after his father became a member, “The Olympic Club used to have a policy of not allowing black people to become members. The club’s bylaws stated that only white Anglo-Saxon males could join. However, my father, the first black member, broke this barrier and paved the way for people of all ethnicities to join the club. He even went on to become a board member and eventually the club’s president, which was a remarkable feat considering the racism and anger he faced from some members who had been there for generations. Some people were so upset by his inclusion that they took his picture off the wall. A white friend of his said to Roy, ‘I’m taking all the pictures off the wall. He went and tore all the pictures off the wall.’”

Clay, a prominent figure in the technology industry, was recognized by the African American Museum and Library at Oakland in 2002 as one of the most significant African-Americans working in technology. Furthermore, ROD-L Electronics, a company in San Mateo County, was honored with the Dads Count Family Friendly Employer Award. Clay’s contributions to the technology industry were also acknowledged in 2003 when he was inducted into the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame. His story serves as an inspiration to all those who face obstacles in achieving their dreams.

This led to the writing and publication of his autobiography “Unstoppable: The Unlikely Story of a Silicon Valley Godfather.” Virginia Clay, the late wife of Mr. Clay had been a huge inspiration to him throughout his life and career. It was her idea for him to write his life story as to not only preserve his legacy, but to also inspire others in pursuing their dreams. His son Rodney said that “…she [Virginia] was the one who said, ‘Roy, you’ve got to write your story as an inspiration to minority kids coming up.’” He goes on to say that “…I think it was more my mom saying…’I want people to know about you…’ My mother was very proud of him. And she was a big reason….for him being who he was…”

In terms of how Clay felt about his book, one of his other sons, Roy Jr., stated that “…he [Roy Sr.] wanted to get some degree of recognition, but really just to get a lot of different things out there. So recognition, being able to help the community, a lot of a lot of reasons all combined together.” He furthers this by saying that “… that was his kind of mantra. And that’s primarily why he wanted to write the book was to be inspirational.” His son Chris, added to this by saying “… whether it be in technology, whether it be in other disciplines, whatever it is…don’t let anything slow you down.”

While Roy Clay Sr. may not be able to do press for his book and life story as a whole, his sons do that job for him. Chris Clay was able to talk at Stanford last year to minority engineering students. He also stated that he had the ability to do another talk with 80 engineers from the company he currently works at. He believes that the book “…has become a big vessel for us to go out and do these sorts of talks and really start to spread the message to other groups. Without a book, then we’re just kind of talking and especially without him there, we don’t quite have the reach and quite have the credibility, but with the book in hand…we are getting a lot and a lot of attention, and a lot of momentum, a lot of visibility to the audience that we want to reach a global audience of all makes increase in interest.”

Chris C. goes on to say that “…we are absolutely getting a lot of reach into…primarily underrepresented people…looking to achieve whatever they want to be, in engineering or other fields of study.” Roy Jr. follows this sentiment when he brings up his father’s start in technology, “…he dealt with a lot of things when he was growing up…he had to deal with a lot, a lot of racism, a lot of…rejection from mainstream society. And in the process of climbing up out of all of that, I think he started to realize that, really, there’s a lot of pathways that need to be created…for the black community to be able to…advance itself in any way.”

After decades in the making, the book was released in July of 2022. His sons are currently in the process of finishing a children’s version which is slated for release in 2024.

Battling Drought: Californians Embrace Change for Water Conservation

Climate change is happening rapidly, and for Californians, this can mean expecting more frequent and intense droughts. In the past, California has seen extreme droughts such as the notorious 2014 drought which caused a state of emergency. Fortunately, there are possible changes that we can implement in our everyday routine to reduce our contribution to climate change. 

After reading David Pogue’s book, “How to Prepare for Climate Change,” I shared his suggestions for water conservation with local Bay Area residents. These residents also shared their current efforts towards conserving water and what they can do better.

In Pogue’s chapter, “Preparing for Drought,” he listed many potential changes that can be made to conserve water at home. One of the first suggestions from Pogue for conserving water is to limit how much you water your lawn. Most lawns are made of grass which is why in his book he describes lawns as “water hogs.” He highlights alternative furnishings besides grass for your lawn such as clover, moss or ornamental grasses. These alternatives require significantly less maintenance and can conserve water on a massive scale.

When speaking with Makayla Marshall, a resident of Pittsburg, she gave a testament to the low maintenance saying, “My family doesn’t really water the lawn much. It wastes a lot of water and it just seems like a lot of work anyways.”

Another suggestion that Pogue offered was to not leave the water running. This is a common fault that many make. Oftentimes we don’t realize how much water can be wasted by common habits like letting the water run while brushing your teeth or rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. 

The EPA states that when you leave the water running while brushing your teeth, you waste about four gallons of water. If you follow your dentist’s recommendations and brush twice a day, that’s eight gallons of water being wasted per day.

Oakland resident Tui Chitekwe shared, “I’ll leave the water running when I’m brushing my teeth sometimes. When I catch myself doing it I immediately turn it off.”  

Hermes Ramos, an Alameda resident also spoke on the efforts his household is making to limit the amount of time water is running. He shared that “some of the most impactful ways to conserve water are at times some of the most obvious. My household became notorious for long showers. Recently we’ve developed a system to minimize our water usage which includes limiting our shower to 10 minutes per person and only using water when necessary to rinse the soap off. ”

While I was lucky to speak with residents who were already following Pogue’s suggestions, there are still many who aren’t. The rapid pace of climate change could have drastic effects on a place like California. Droughts in particular would affect the state the most. Some of the consequences of droughts that Pogue listed were restricted food supply, more wildfires, blockaded cargo, unemployment, crime, disruption and civil unrest.

It may seem unrealistic to expect everyone to make big changes to their everyday routines. However, climate change will create obstructive consequences if more efforts aren’t made by everyone. 

For Californians, this means residents should try to conserve water as much as possible. Making small changes like not letting the water run, watering your grass less, or limiting the amount of times you flush, could have a big impact on slowing the effects of climate change. 

“I think back to the wildfires we had at the beginning of the pandemic. It was scary and even though that was caused by something else, one day it could be caused by a drought,” Marshall said.

She continued to say, “Conserving water is important because I don’t want to live somewhere with food shortages and a bunch of wildfires. I hope everyone does their part to conserve what they can.”

Unlocking Student Satisfaction: Insights from Chabot College’s Learning Communities

Chabot College recently completed its Student Satisfaction Survey for the Spring 2023 semester. The results raise concerns about students’ access to academic resources and support.

Of 1084 students surveyed, 45% felt neutral or dissatisfied with the convenience of getting academic counseling appointments and 42% stated they were neutral or dissatisfied with preparation for transfer to a four-year college or university.  

Another concerning result from the Student Satisfaction Survey was that only 19% of the 1000 students surveyed utilized the learning communities at Chabot. Of that 19% of students, 91% were satisfied with the services provided by those programs. 

I decided to survey a smaller sample of 100 students. Of these students, 50 were in a learning community (LC) and 50 were not in a learning community (NLC). The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into the link between student satisfaction and being in a learning community. Students also had the opportunity to provide feedback on how they think the college can raise awareness about learning communities and improve access to academic support.

At Chabot, there are seven learning communities. These communities are Umoja, Puente, MOVEMENT, Change It Now (CIN), RISE Program, First Year Experience (FYE), and Accessibility Center for Education (ACE). Each program offers a community for students of similar backgrounds to come together and reach their academic goals. A few of these communities offer specialized courses and counselors for their students.

One Umoja student shared appreciation for their program saying, “I really love Umoja because it helps me know that I am not alone in my space around other students. I feel more welcomed and appreciated in the Black Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) and other spaces with black people.”

The purpose of having these communities at Chabot is to make it easier for students to connect with peers of similar interests and provide extra support for students of more diverse backgrounds. The satisfaction from these programs stems from the fact that students have direct access to academic resources. 

The first thing asked in both the LC and NLC surveys was how satisfied students were with access to academic counseling at Chabot. Out of the 50 LC students, 88% were satisfied with their access to academic counseling. Of the 50 NLC students, 42% were satisfied with their access to academic counseling. 

Next, they were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their access to college transfer support. The NLC students were 38% satisfied, whereas the LC students were 70% satisfied. The majority of NLC students were neutral or dissatisfied with academic support at the college. 

One of the general themes of the NLC survey was that students felt that lack of availability and counselors led to their rating. 

An NLC student wrote that it’s “hard to get an appointment and when I do I never get the same counselor. I have to explain my issue multiple times since it’s harder to get an appointment with a specific counselor.”

In the LC student survey, students were asked how they felt their specific program improved their access to Chabot’s academic resources. 

A Puente student shared a different opinion saying that they had, “lots of academic opportunities” and “plenty of resources for academic and personal care.”

Another student of FYE shared similar thoughts saying, “They are there to always answer my questions.”

This is why the Student Satisfaction Survey stats were concerning. If students in learning communities are sharing an overall higher satisfaction rate, it raises the question as to why only 19% of students are using these programs.

In both the LC and NLC surveys, students shared how they felt Chabot could do a better job of informing students about learning communities. They also shared how they felt Chabot could improve student’s access to academic support. 

One NLC student said they would like to be informed by “professors so they can tell the students what services Chabot provides as well as organize events where students get invited to get all information needed.”

An FYE student who experienced being informed about their community in person shared, “My physio Professor this term spent the first syllabus day going over these programs,” they continued to say that, “it was helpful.”

Many students in both surveys voiced how they would like to learn more about learning communities online. Some stated that they would appreciate receiving more information via email or social media. While many of the learning communities have social media platforms, students shared that they would like the college to help promote them. Others suggested that learning communities should be featured more prominently on Chabot’s website. Online visibility was a recurring theme in the students’ feedback. 

It remains to be seen how Chabot will implement student feedback to improve student satisfaction. By the next survey, students are hoping that these stats will improve. In the meantime, students who would like to learn more about joining a learning community can visit chabotcollege.edu/academics/learning-communities. 

Thrifting Shopping, A Sustainable Solution to Fast Fashion Waste and Environmental Impact

Woman holding H&M bag. Photographer/Fernand De Canne

With rampant consumerism of fast fashion ending up in landfills, thrift shopping has become a trendy alternative solution to reduce waste and combat climate change. Minizining the environmental impact of clothing waste is important because it is estimated by the EPA that 11.5 trillion tons of textile waste ends up in landfills. 

Fast fashion is a business model of companies like H&M, Shein, GAP, and many others that mass produce cheap quality clothing at a low cost and charge a high price in retail. Much of the cheap clothing ends up in landfills. It would be more responsible for consumers to benefit from thrift shopping than supporting fast fashion brands. 

“Fast fashion is all about cheap products that could be made as quickly as possible versus quality made to last. So fast fashion often tears quickly, isn’t made to last, and we find people purchase fast fashion to wear it once, maybe twice, then they throw it out,” said Hailey Corum, the ASI Director of Sustainability at Cal State East Bay. 

In a study called “The Phenomenon of Thrifting As An Alternative Solution Related to Reducing Environmental Impact on Fast Fashion” found that “thrifting activities have a very good impact on the environment, because they not only minimize the fast fashion industry, but also reduce chemicals and clothing waste that are very difficult to decompose.” 

With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing worry about climate change, thrift shopping became a trend on social media during the pandemic from Instagram and TikTok. While many teenagers started thrifting because it is trending, many realize it also reduces clothing waste. 

“Thrifting can help you think about your consumerism patterns by realizing pre-loved items are perfectly good to own, and there are other ways that you can contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle by purchasing second-hand items,” said Corum.