Author Archives: Alexandria Wooden

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.

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.

Reusable Containers in the Cafe

As of March 6, Encora, a company specializing in reusable containers, aims to decrease waste and plastic waste at Café Chabot. The implementation of Encora’s containers not only promotes environmental sustainability for students and staff but also reduces waste management expenses.

Ted Wallis, the Founder, and CEO of Encora, told us in an interview that Chabot College and Ohlone College are currently the exclusive recipients of these containers. As the company expands its product distribution, users can access the service through a free app.

To use the app, students must provide credit or debit card information for identification purposes only. Encora employs STRIPE, a secure third-party payment processor, to ensure that sensitive information remains protected and inaccessible to the company.

When ordering lunch from the cafe, students and staff can request their food to be packed in an Encora container. To do so, they simply scan the container’s QR code, akin to borrowing a book from the library. These containers are then returned to a designated silver bin in the cafeteria, collected, and sent back to the distributor for cleaning.

Chabot student Iyan Gilder, expressed his thoughts about Encora’s container return process, applauding the app’s easy procedure, and walked through the steps of maneuvering the app’s scan feature. 

Encora’s containers can withstand up to 1,200 washes without being damaged by food stains. They are cleaned using high-temperature commercial dishwashers, ensuring thorough sanitation.

Although the Encora app requires a valid credit card, users will only be charged if they fail to return the container within seven days. As an incentive to use and return the containers, customers can earn a five-dollar discount on their meal after returning five containers at Café Chabot.

Encora envisions its products eventually replacing single-use plastic containers. With longer-lasting containers, the Seattle-based company offers a variety of options, including a three-compartment clamshell, a 9×9 box for larger meals, a soup cup, a 5×5 sandwich container, and drink cups. If successful, the program will expand its product range next year.

Chabot student Ian Beyea shared his positive experience using Encora’s containers, praising their quality and durability. He acknowledged the potential benefits of the program for Chabot College moving forward.

Through the introduction of Encora’s container program, Chabot College is taking a significant step toward reducing single-use waste and mitigating its environmental impact.

13th Annual Poetry Reading

Chabot College’s 13th Annual Poetry Reading took place on Apr. 27 in building 100 from noon — 2 p.m. The reading was in celebration of National Poetry Month and welcomed the talented author and poet, Anthony Fangary as the guest speaker. 

The poetry was presented by The Chabot College Library and English Department, originally started in 2010 by instructors Landon Smith, Homeria Foth and Librarian Pedro Reynoso. Foth said, “One day Pedro and I were just talking about how it would be a great idea to bring poets on campus. Students need to experience this.” 

Fangary is a writer and an artist who resides in San Francisco. His poetry has appeared in a couple literary journals, received backing from several institutions, and he is even the author of HARAM, a poetry book published in 2019. HARAM, Etched Press 2019 is available on Amazon, with a total of 44 pages that brings a certain intensity regarding discrimination and religion. 

Fangary read a total of 13 poems at the event, many of which had relations to his Coptic background. A Copt is an adherent of the Coptic Orthodox Church, an early Christian community originating in Egypt with a predominantly Egyptian ethnic background.

His poem titled “The Liquor Store,” talked about the pros and cons of Copts owning or working in a liquor store. “Europe,” depicted Fangary’s experience in how Europeans mistreat the Coptic people. As well as “Harem,” which talked about colorism in the Coptic community as well as religion, plus more.

The reading was smooth and the delivery was delicate, the audience seemed to enjoy the number of poems read, and a Q&A session was held after the reading on Fangary’s inspiration, dedication, and overall mindset while writing. 

“One of the things that motivates me to write is working out questions I’ve had since I was younger. It’s been a lifelong exploration on what it means to be here with the circumstances in which they are prevalent.” Fangary stated. He also noted several poets that have and continue to inspire him; Joy Pries, Solmaz Sharif, and Dorothy Chan.

Fangary’s poems touched many attendees’ hearts, one of them being Chabot instructor Tobey Kaplian, “His poetry was personal and political. Poetry is not about expressing. Poetry is about discovering, and he shared that with us, in which I was very moved by.” 

This is the first time since the pandemic that students gathered in person for the poetry reading in the Chabot library. Student Michelle commented, “His poems were captivating. I love his poems and I also believe in coming out and supporting poets.”

For more information on Fangary go to

Chabot College, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This spring semester, Chabot College performed their version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the comedy was originally written by William Shakespeare somewhere between 1594 to 1596. The play, although set in ancient Athens, GR, is re-imagined through Shakespeare’s eyes nearly 2,000 years after the era.

The performance was held in building 1100 and directed by Dov Hassan, who is the head of Theatre Arts. The money that was used to purchase the tickets went toward funding the Chabot Theatre Department. 

The play provides the “love is in the air” feeling, first starting out with a four-person love square where Egeus, an Athenian nobleman prepares for his daughter, Herima, to marry a man named Demetrius. But while Demetrius loves Hermia, she loves a man named Lysander. Although Helena, Hermia’s friend, still loves Demetrius after being previously engaged to him. Eventually, Hermia and Lysander sneak into the woods, hoping to run away. However, Demetrius follows and Helena isn’t too far behind. In the woods, there are two very different groups in very different situations. First, we have the faeries, with Oberon, the King of faeries, and his Queen, Titania. The two are currently at odds after returning from a trip. The second group are Athenian Mechanicals or craftsmen, who are arranging a play they wish to put on for Theseus, the duke of Athens and his bride, Hippolyta. The three groups of characters get caught up in silly situations that ultimately lead to them all being connected. 

As the play featured comedy and drama, and while the stories were portrayed well, it got a bit confusing to keep up with at times. The acting and set design made up for it. 

The play, being very well produced and directed, started out with a bang, literally starting out with a jumpscare before going into a routine and choreographed dance, with green and purple lights on the main stage. The opening scene was very captivating, it had me and the audience hooked from the start. 

In an interview with Tarin Smith, who plays Flute, A Mechanical forced into playing the part of a woman in the play for the rich. “If I didn’t get a laugh at the end, I’m doing a lot wrong.” he stated “There’s been shows where we’ve done something, and people are like, “Oh my God!“. And honestly, like the reactions fuel us. Like it gives us fire to, like, do really good. So crowd energy is really good for us.” 

Overall, the audience and I really enjoyed the play. It had drama, romance, and a ton of humor. I hope to see more plays like this in the future.

Spring 2023 Chabot Art Gallery

The Chabot College Art Gallery’s opening night was on March 14, and closed on March 31. The gallery featured many different students’ works, such as paintings, photography, and sculptures. It was held in building 1100 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and featured many different works.

Six photos of photographer in portrait, each picture in a different hue.

The area was spacious enough to hold everyone’s work, and light refreshments for the guests made for an enjoyable experience. On the walls, there were photos and paintings, and there were about 4-6 items on each side of one wall (with the exception of bigger works), with a sculpture or two in between. 

Green, blue, black, and yellow acrylic paint on canvas in circular shapes.

Many of the talented artists who submitted their work to the gallery attended with their loved ones to view all of their hard work on opening night. The artists who were in attendance seemed satisfied with how the setup of the gallery went, both the process and the finished result. The process of setting up the gallery took a couple of weeks, but the finished product was beyond worth it. 

Handmade sculpture figurine of a bird wearing a victorian style dress with it’s a feet showcasing in the front.

Overall, the gallery was beautiful. The art submitted was very well done and obviously had a lot of thought and heart put into it. The gallery was open for some time after, however, the first day attracted the most people. They were excited to see what was in store for them. 

Handmade sculptures of three individuals, two women, one man, in a bust style. Various textures layered to showcase the variations in hair textures and styles.
Handmade sculpture of Native American chief wearing a feather head piece, painted in a variety of glaze colors ranging from red, oranges, and blues. The sculpture is reaching out to what appears to be his reflection water.

Chabot Celebrates Lunar New Year

The Chabot College Lunar New Year Event kicked off on Feb. 2  hosted in the 700 building. The celebration was presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Education Association (APIEA) and was in collaboration with the Association of China Club and the Movement Learning Community.   

A few people came to speak and say a few words at the beginning of the event. Chabot’s President Susan Sperling attended the event and spoke, she voiced that it is important to recognize all of the people for whom Lunar New Year is celebrated. She then thanked and and gave a shout out to various individuals for supporting the event altogether. 

The President of the Association of China Club spoke as well. She stated the facts and traditions of the Lunar New Year that occur in China and thanked the audience for coming out to show love and support. 

Fong Tran, a spoken word poet, educator, and public speaker shared a beautiful poetry during the event. For example, one of the poems titled “I Hate” conveyed Tran’s battle with accepting his ethnicity and who he is. The series of spoken word poetry was very powerful, it seemed to have quite an impact on the audience.  

To end the event, there was a fun activity the audience could participate in. At the beginning of the event, the people flooding in were required to take an envelope from the entrance table, that envelope would contain a scratch card in it. This card however, would not win us the lottery, but 10 special cards would let us know if we won a prize that varied from a gift card to a large squishmallow. 

The event was attended by a series of different people who wanted to learn more and were interested in the program. The overall goal was about sharing space and culture within the community, and creating a safe space for people to feel comfortable within themselves.

Hayward Library’s Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar new year is a time for big celebrations for many people all around the world. On Jan. 21 2023 at the Hayward Library, we had an astonishing Lunar New Year celebration. The Hayward Library is a seemingly recent library, with it being built in 2019, this event was the first that the Hayward library has hosted and was well attended.

Library guest, adults and children circled around Lunar New Year performance.

More than 300 people came to observe and participate. The celebration’s hosts, Librarian Wenny Wallace, and Jayanti Addleman, the Director of Library services, wanted to bring the community together with performance art in dances and singing to make people feel comfortable just the way they are.  

The Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of a brand new Lunar calendar year, the holiday honors the heritage and brings people, both young and old, together from many different Asian cultures and backgrounds. In an insightful interview with Wenny Wallace, she says “This is to bring the community together. I saw some people start to talk to each other. That is the reason why I feel Lunar New Year is important, one, to keep the heritage, and two, is to bring together the whole community, not only small communities like Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese communities. Bring all of them together.”

Traditional dancer dressed from head to toe in bright yellow and red, dancing with flags at the Hayward Public Library

 Lunar New Year celebrations are not the same everywhere. For example, in some places, people would visit their families and stay with them, eat various foods, and have a good time. While in America, celebrations are likely a community event. The holiday isn’t only celebrated in Chinese culture, many festivities take place in Korea, Vietnam, and more.

Lunar New Year traditions, which have a history of about 3,500 years, in the words of Wenny Wallace, are “Like Christmas,” where you take your time to visit family and friends. These traditions and elements hold different significance. For example, 2023 is the year of the rabbit on the Chinese Zodiac calendar, and that represents peace and prosperity. Also, the importance of the color red is a key thing to mention, which represents luck/good fortune. Firecrackers also play a big role in Lunar New Year celebrations used to scare away bad luck and bad energy from the year prior. 

With the event’s big turnout, a monumental moment for them, so much so that they are open to doing another one next year. In the words of Wenny Wallace, “You should feel proud about your own culture.”