On September 21, Chabot College Planetarium hosted an exclusive event that explores the fascinating world of ancient Mayan science and culture. It’s shed light on the Mayan’s advanced understanding of astronomy and timekeeping.
The event was organized by Scott Hildreth, a knowledgeable Chabot College professor of Physics and Astronomy and NASA researcher, who guided students through the rich heritage of Mayan knowledge and history.
“They didn’t have calculators, they didn’t have Seikos, they didn’t have smartphones, but they took records over so long that they were able to figure out there are approximately 29.530 days in one lunar month. And this is a thousand years ago,” explained Prof. Scott Hildreth.
The show started with a splash of the sound of Mayan cultural music that brought viewers back 1000 years ago to indigenous cultures, highlighting the existence of vinyl records from regions including Mexico and Guatemala, showing many of the musical instruments used by these cultures, such as flutes and drums, likely remained unchanged until now.
One of the central parts of the event was the connection between the students and their potential Mayan ancestry. Prof. Hildreth touched upon the idea that, even if people couldn’t directly trace their lineage to the Maya, the influence of this ancient civilization might still be present in their bloodline or through connections with friends and family.
‘’I also was very amazed to learn that the Mayans did scientific studies which were not only way ahead of their time but included it as a part of their daily lives,’’ – shared Brian after visiting 7 Wonders of the World.
One of the most astonishing revelations was the Mayan’s intricate understanding of time. They precisely recorded the position of the sun throughout the year, tracking its rising and setting locations. They developed a calendar system based on 260 named days and a 365-day solar calendar, along with a detailed system for associating characteristics with specific birth dates.
‘’I did not know that the ancient Mayan civilizations were so obsessed with astronomy and the sky, and they were such strong observers. It’s amazing that they based all of their architecture on the sky, and I think that’s what my biggest takeaway is,’’ – said Chabot student Emmanuel Garrido.
The Mayans’ written records contained detailed depictions of astronomical events, historical records, and intricate artwork that told stories of battles, conquests, and the lives of their rulers.
The event concluded with an exploration of Mayan artistry and craftsmanship, including their beautifully detailed stone glyphs and pyramids. They didn’t build it in one place. They built pyramids all over the Mayan area, and these pyramids are not accidental because they’re aligned to the directions of the Sun.
“They’re aligned to when the moon rises and sets in particular places on the horizon: the highest or lowest of the sky,” – explained Prof. Scott Hildreth.
Mayan legacy left behind such as their specific methodology for counting days in a year on the pyramids is both fascinating and practical. These architectural structures served as both monuments and astronomical observatories with specific characteristics:
“91 steps on all four sides. What’s four times 91? They had to bring a calculator? It’s 364. The top step is 365. You think that’s an accident? No, no. Well, a quarter of the year on each side”, – noted Prof. Scott Hildreth.
All in all, Chabot College Planetarium is an exclusive place in the Bay Area academic neighborhood. None of the most famous local universities such as Berkeley or Stanford has this sort of facility. Luckily, Chabot College has.
‘’I think it’s a very inviting atmosphere, a very learning atmosphere. I think I feel safe being curious and asking questions because I think the professor was very well, he was very eloquent with everything and seeing as this is my culture, these would be my ancestors. I felt just very interested overall,’’ – shared Emmanuel Garrido.
Therefore, all the students were offered a unique opportunity to journey into the heart of ancient Mayan science and culture. Through the insights of passionate and captivating exploration of Mayan achievements, all the students not only gained a newfound appreciation for the intellectual richness of this remarkable civilization but also celebrated Hispanic heritage month.
Books depicting the African American experience from Alex Haley, Alice Walker, Ruby Bridges, and more black authors are banned in the U.S. Schools, Libraries, and prisons from Tennessee to Arizona (Mostly red states).
They’re banned because of the violence, language, and adverse effects they might have on young readers. Another reason why is because of the Critical Race Theory (CRT). It’s a Cross-disciplinary examination by social and civil rights activists of how social conceptions of race and ethnicity shape laws, social and political movements, and media.
Whether books or teaching, the number of banned subjects related towards CRT continues to grow across the US. Several red states believe it teaches that America was founded on racism and inequality and that white supremacy is embedded in this country.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a nonfiction book based on the actual events of the Muslim Minister and civil rights activist. The book was written by Malcolm and Alex Haley.
The novel touches on black pride, The African American experience from the 1920s through the 1960s, racism, religion, coming of age, black separatism, and Jim Crow. Along with Malcolm X joining the Nation of Islam (NOI), a black nationalist organization that teaches Islamic tradition and black separatism.
The NOI was started in 1930 by founder Minister Wallace Fard Muhammad, then after he died in 1937 and led by Minister Elijah Muhammad from 1937 till his death in 1975. Muhammad was Malcolm X’s mentor. The novel mentions when Malcolm X left the NOI and went to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and the events when he returned.
When Malcolm left the NOI due to disagreements about where the organization was heading with Muhammad, Malcolm went to Mecca for his true conversion into a Muslim. Malcolm X changed because of what he saw, and he saw Muslims of all different colors and races without discrimination against each other.
The book is regarded as one of the most influential in the U.S. as of 2012. The Library of Congress named it “One of The Books That Helped Shaped America” in 2021. The book was published on Oct. 29, 1965, just eight months after Malcolm X was assassinated at 39. 27 years later, the book was produced into a film starring Denzel Washington as Malcolm X and was directed by Spike Lee.
Dr. Jamal Cooks, Vice President of Academic Service at Chabot College, said this about the book “Malcolm was changing before going to Mecca. He began to not only see the world in black and white, but he also began to see it in terms of those that were for the progress of humanity and those that were not. The book spoke on brotherhood, embracing humans, and somehow it got lost in translation.”
The novel is banned in six red states, including Arizona, Texas, and Tennessee. According to an article on the Vice website, Tennessee Prison Rejects Book Donations Because Malcom X is Not Allowed, states that Malcom X’s bio book is banned in the prisons of Tennessee because of CRT law that’s been placed in that state and how it may incite a riot. The book is claimed to be inconsistent with rehabilitative goals.
An autobiography not banned in those same red states is German Nazi Party Leader, Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. Translated in English is titled, My struggle, is claimed to not have anything to do with the CRT laws.
When Department of Criminal Justice Chief of Staff Jason Clark asked why he allowed the Hitler book in the Texas Prisons, he replied, “Mein Kampif is approved because it doesn’t violate our rules, it doesn’t stir up readers’ minds.”
In an excerpt from Mien Kampif on page 134, “The Jews are the master of lies…. Jews are people of robbers…. they are beneath us like rats.” This extremist racist German organization imprisoned, tortured, and killed over six million Jews during the holocaust.
Malcom was all about helping the African American race. He was never about violence. He was a separatist, but he changed when he returned from Mecca. He wanted to ally with other civil rights leaders he once called “Uncle Tom,” a derogatory word that meant a sell-out to their race. He wanted help from Dr. Martin Luther King, Adam Clayton Powell, and white people who wanted to help.
The Color Purple
The Color Purple is a fictional book by Alice Walker. The book guides the trauma and victory of Celie Harris Johnson, an African American woman raised in Georgia during the early 20th century. The book takes place during Celie’s teen years and ends into her adulthood. In the novel, Celie is bullied, discouraged, and has low self-esteem due to her husband and stepfather, yet she overcomes it and stands up for herself.
The novel was published in 1982, and the following year won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and The National Book Award for Fiction. In 1985 the book was produced into a movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Danny Glover. With Steven Spielberg as the director.
The book is banned in six red states like Florida, Mississippi, and Texas due to the book subjects on racism, lesbianism, rape, teenage pregnancy, and sexism. An article titled, Texas Prison Bans the Color Purple, on the Guardian website states, “The book is banned because the author leads the reader to believe her father rapes the main character.”
North Carolina Brunswick County Commissioner Pat Sykes wrote in her request in 2021 to remove the novel from the state. She said, “Trash in, Trash out. The immorality, the filth, you need to be 21 to drink, but they provided porn. Reading this as part of their curriculum in High School is Wrong.” The school board voted 3-2 to keep the book in school.
In an article on the Oprah Daily website, Oprah Says She Wanted to Be in The Color Purple More Than Ever, Oprah stated, “When I read the book for the first time, I loved it. It embraced womanhood; the book is cultured. So, when I found out about the audition for the movie, I went out and brought copies, handed them to people, and told them I was going to be in the movie. The book is so meaningful and deep.”
A musical movie of the book is set to be released in theaters on Dec. 25, 2023. Fantasia Barrino will be portraying the character of Celie.
Ruby Bridges Goes to School
Ruby Bridges Goes to School was written by Ruby Bridges herself and published in 2009. It’s an autobiography about Bridge’s experience of being the first African American to be integrated into an all-white school in New Orleans, LA 1960.
The book is banned in Texas, Tennessee, and Florida due to the CRT law. Moms Against Liberty (MAL) is a conservative nonprofit organization that advocates for what it sees as parental rights in schools; they advocated for the ban of the book.
In an article on Congress.gov titled Moms Against Liberty Against Ruby Bridges, stated MAL’s comment, “The book is too uncomfortable for young white children… There are no black heroes in the book. Such as Justice of the Peace Clarence Thomas, Actor Morgan Freeman, and Secretary Ben Carson.”
The book focuses on Bridges and what she had to overcome as a six-year-old in 1960. This is 31 years before Thomas was Justice of the Peace in the U.S. Supreme Court, 57 years before Carson served as the 17 United States Secretary of Housing, and 11 years before Morgan Freeman made his acting debut.
Dr. Cook chimes in on what the MAL chapters in Arizona, Texas, and Tennessee comment about that novel, “Life is uncomfortable, and life is in no one’s favor…. The book explains to the readers how taking a stand for what you believe in is very important. You can stand up for whatever you believe in at any age, and to me, that’s a hero.”
The novel represents never forgetting the past or those who were there to help a better future. In the first chapter of the book she stated, “A Long time, black children and white children could not go to the same school. I Helped change that and along my journey I made friends too. Some white children did not judge me because of my color. They judge me because of my character.”
Books from the African American Experience inform young, old, black, and white readers of the obstacles they faced in U.S. history. Those obstacles deal with racism, segregation, unjustified laws, slavery, and more that are still brutal to the black race today.
Umoja member and Chabot student Christian Green expressed, “It’s a toleration of white guilt and ignorance. The CRT theory is for black people specifically. Allowing this to happen in allowing any other forms of the practical racial, sexist, homophobic system to continue because someone doesn’t want race and anything else to be talked about in general.”
Libraries are meant to serve the public and all prospective points of view. Chabot head librarian Pedro Reynoso expressed, “Anytime you censor any author, specifically minorities, it’s a way of erasing people’s contribution to this country….as a librarian, I always support and defend freedom of speech and collecting books from prospective that present the full spectrum of the community.”
There is a letter obtained by the Texas Tribune from the Texas House of Representatives stating, “These books might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish,” and then continues, “They’re too young for children to be part of the school curriculum dealing with race and Black Lives Matters Moments.”
Books are supposed to, at times, leave readers questioned, informative, and create their own opinions. As an educator, Dr. Cook mentioned, “My point as an educator is that part of what we do is to be able to expose young people to a variety of topics at an appropriate time. Exposing them to different topics lets them walk away from their perspectives.”
Umoja member and Chabot student Makaylih Chan Welch voiced, “It’s dumb. Why erase or ban books of events that happened? Racism, slavery, and Jim Crow happened over 100 years ago. Years you can’t erase the black experience that happened 100 years or less years ago. There are people alive today that were involved in civil rights. Doing this removes their voice, and young people from different races need to hear or read that.”
More books about the African American experiences from black authors include A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, Beloved by Toni Morrison, I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and more, continue to be banned from red states due to the CRT Laws in those states.
Books, fiction or nonfiction about the black experience, uplift the race, reminding readers of the realities that African Americans faced through their own words. They not only highlight the negative but showcase the positive as well. The continuation of the book ban will further erase black stories for the future generations.
After 35 years of dedicated service and unwavering commitment to the Chabot College community, President Susan Sperling has announced her retirement this Spring Semester 2023. Her departure marks the end of an era characterized by educational innovation, inclusivity, and tireless advocacy for the needs of California community college students. As we bid farewell to President Sperling, it is essential to reflect on her impactful tenure and the positive changes she has spearheaded during her time at Chabot.
President Sperling’s journey at Chabot began with a sense of competition and uncertainty. She vividly remembers her first day on campus in 1987, when she was interviewed for a faculty position. The job market for educators, especially in social sciences, was challenging, adding to the competitive atmosphere. Despite initial skepticism from the then-college president, President Sperling successfully secured the position in anthropology, “I did get the job. I began to teach. I began to appreciate what Chabot was, the heart that Chabot had, the excellent staff and faculty.”
Over the years, Chabot College has experienced remarkable evolution under President Sperling’s leadership. The institution has become more diverse and inclusive, both in terms of its student body and its staff. When President Sperling arrived, there were few women teachers or leaders in administrative roles. The college was predominantly white and male. Recognizing the importance of diversity, she championed efforts to hire individuals from diverse backgrounds, “Excellence is not just found in one gender or one ethnicity, it’s found in people from diverse backgrounds and that is an important part of what we do as community educators.”
President Sperling’s tenure has been marked by her unwavering dedication to equity and social justice. She strongly believes in the power of education to uplift marginalized communities, working tirelessly to ensure that Chabot College remains an entryway to higher education for all. “I recognize the critical role played by students, faculty, and staff as educators, advocating for their perspectives and expertise in shaping policies and decisions that best serve the needs of California community college students.”
However, President Sperling also acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead for Chabot College and community colleges across the state. She highlights a disconnect between the knowledge and experiences of educators, and community college students with the prevailing beliefs of think tanks, lobbyists, and legislators. “This disconnect poses a significant threat to the future of community colleges and the students they serve. I think this disconnect is a very, very problematic thing for the future of this precious resource for all of the people of the California community colleges, which have been the entryway to higher education for marginalized communities, for our working-class people, and for first-generation students.”
As President Sperling prepares to pass the torch to her successor, she offers invaluable advice for a smooth transition and continued success at Chabot College. She emphasizes the need for leaders to understand that their work is a collective effort involving students, staff, and faculty. Decision-making should be inclusive and guided by the highest aspirations and goals of the college community. President Sperling also highlights the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of controversy, underscoring the necessity of unwavering dedication to student equity and success.
Chabot- Las Positas Community College District (CLPCCD) Chancellor Ronald P. Gerhard shared his thoughts on President Sperling’s retirement, “President Sperling’s retirement elicits feelings of pause and reflection. I have had the honor to work with President Sperling for the past 5 and 1/2 years in various capacities.”
Ronald continues, “There is also a sense of celebration in recognition of her storied career. Personally, I am excited for her and for the next chapter of adventures that awaits her and her family. Professionally, she has been a force of stability and leadership during her 36-year career at Chabot. Having served as a faculty member, union leader, dean, and president, her leadership has helped create and elevate many of Chabot’s signature programs. I would be hard-pressed to think of any part of Chabot where President Sperling has not left her indelible mark.”
When asked how she hopes the college community will remember her contributions, President Sperling emphasizes her commitment to composure, respect for students’ brilliance, shared governance, and the dignity of all labor. Her leadership has been rooted in a deep sense of equity and social justice, leaving an indelible mark on Chabot College.
As President Sperling’s last day at Chabot College approaches, the campus community is planning farewell celebrations. However, for President Sperling, the most anticipated event is a long walk around the campus, where she can appreciate every moment and reminisce about the meaningful interactions she had with students under the shade of trees and in the classrooms, “It has been as much my home as it has been my workplace.”
As Chabot College moves forward, it will carry President Sperling’s legacy, remaining a place where students, faculty, and staff continue to work together to create a brighter future for the community and beyond.
The parking fees at Chabot have attracted attention due to their high taxes and the prices of their fines.
Here at Chabot, the parking may seem affordable with a permit for the semester being $45 for a motor vehicle and $30 for a motorcycle; however, when compared with the price of a violation fine, the numbers don’t seem to add up.
As of 2023, the fine for a “no permit” violation is $35, less than the amount of a permit for a full semester for motor vehicles and only five dollars more than that of a motorcycle. This could be one of the main reasons some students don’t pay for parking as there is no incentive to do so, especially since it would ultimately be cheaper not to.
Campus Safety disagrees with this train of thought, however, stating that although the pricing can be considered expensive it is much cheaper than it would be at a four-year university. They go on to state that while students may feel like it would be easier to opt out of paying in general it would not be a good idea to take that risk.
“Parking permits are being enforced with officers issuing citations on a daily basis through our Permit Readers that are connected to our digital parking system. Parking enforcement is everyday with Campus Safety being on patrol 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Not paying for parking permits can ultimately do more harm than good, according to Campus Security, as the revenue from these permits goes directly towards the maintenance of the parking lots on the campus. This is another reason that the administration urges students to pay rather than risking a “No Permit” citation, even if it would be cheaper.
Another reason that students might be disinterested in paying for parking could be attributed to the incredibly high taxes on digital payments for daily permits. The daily parking permit for all semesters is advertised on the Chabot website as being only $3 but, with taxes included it jumps to a whopping $7 when paying online.
Of course, when paying with cash at the onsite payment podiums, these taxes can be avoided all together. However, in a time when so many people rely on debit and credit cards as well as services like Apple Pay, it is rare that every student is carrying cash on them. Lowering these taxes or removing them all together could make students feel more inclined to pay for parking.
Regarding these issues with pricing, especially surrounding the online fees for daily passes, campus security had this to say: “Unfortunately, there is service charge on this system that is advertised when going through the online process; however, there is no service charge at the
Dispensers if students choose to go that route.” When asked why this fee is not advertised on the website, however, campus security had no response.
On this issue, Chabot student Michelle Mendoza says that she isn’t really affected by these taxes because she has a permit for the semester. “I like not having to worry about paying for parking when I’m rushing to class, so I bought my permit in advance. It’s much cheaper to do it that way instead of buying a daily permit everyday, anyway.”
While some students share Mendoza’s sentiment, people like second-year student Brian Aguilar feel like permits aren’t all that necessary, stating: “I take the bus a lot of the time anyway, but if I have to drive and I’m running late or something then I’ll just risk getting the fine. It’s not worth it to get a permit for someone like me.”
A lot of students who are in the same position as Aguilar, where they don’t drive themselves to campus, feel like the problem doesn’t affect them; however, for students who do have to worry, the task of paying for parking can seem daunting. Hopefully, in the future, Chabot’s administration can determine a solution to this parking issue that is accommodating for both the students and the college.
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.
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.”
On May 3 the Chabot College wind symphony held a music festival conducted by Timothy Harris, Director of Bands and Music Department Coordinator at Chabot College, with clarinetist Duy Tran and the Mt. Eden high school orchestra as special guests.
The show began with a performance by the Mount Eden High School orchestra and was followed by three performances by Chabot’s wind symphony, one of which featured a solo by Chabot student and pharmacist Dr. Duy Tran. Dr. Tran’s solo during a piece composed by renowned American music composer, Johnathan Leshnoff, highlighted his amazing breath control and skill while demonstrating why, “He is one of the finest clarinetists here at Chabot,” according to Harris.
After Dr. Tran’s performance, the wind symphony performed “Variations on America” which was composed by Charles Ives. This piece was specifically chosen for this performance, according to Harris, because the composer was only seventeen at the time that he wrote it – around the same age as the Mount Eden students in the audience, giving them something to relate to.
For their final performance, the Chabot students performed a Spanish opera titled “El Gato Montes” written by Manuel Penella about the love affair between a bull fighter and the woman he loves. This dramatic piece is well known throughout the musical world as it was the inspiration for many other march composers like John Philip Sousa who wrote the national march, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
The students in both the Mount Eden orchestra and the Chabot wind symphony showed incredible talent and skill during their performances and that could be seen by how well they were received by the audience. Applause could be heard before and after every piece and audience members whispered about their approval throughout the performances.
After the festival was over a lot of the audience members spoke about how much they enjoyed the performances, with most being supportive family members of both the Chabot and Mount Eden ensembles. First year Chabot student Natalie Munoz attended the show after seeing the flier on Chabot’s website and said that she really enjoyed all the performances, stating: “I was in the orchestra at my high school, so it was cool to see high school students and college students play at the same level.”
With the closure of the Chabot College bookstore on April 25 and the empty school supply vending machines, students found themselves without an on-campus source for testing supplies such as scantrons and green books. In response, the Chabot College administration has devised a plan to provide free testing supplies to students in need.
In an email sent by Norman Buchwald, the Information Literacy and Technology Librarian, he expressed concern about students’ access to testing supplies. “We are starting to get requests for scantrons. And no one here at the Library seems to know of any vending machines put in, and with the bookstore having closed, students need them.”
A faculty member, Jeffrey Tsao, also shared his experience in an email, “I started a few years ago purchasing generic scantron test forms from Amazon … I generally pay for it myself since it’s a timesaving measure for me, and I also stopped worrying about students forgetting to purchase them.”
In response, “The Equity Office purchased testing supplies for students, including scantrons,” wrote Saleem Gilmore, Ed.D., the Director of Student Equity and Success, in an email to the campus community. Details regarding the location and time frames for students to pick up test supplies for finals will be provided in a follow-up email.
In a follow-up email, Matthew Kritscher, Ed.D., Vice President of Student Services, announced a collaborative solution, stating that starting Thursday, May 10, the Library will provide free student testing resources during their normal hours. The supplies will also be available through the FRESH Pantry and Pop-up Pantry in the Student Center and the Welcome Desk in Building 700.
“The Library has very accessible hours and is a logical place for students to receive these free testing resources, so we’re going to pilot this new collaborative service together!” Kritscher wrote.
The free testing supplies at the library’s circulation desk, Pantries, and Building 700 welcome desk will include a variety of scantrons, Glue Books, and number 2 pencils.
The new collaborative service aims to address the gap left by the closure of the bookstore and the empty vending machine. The Chabot College administration’s quick response to provide free testing supplies demonstrates their commitment to student success and equity during the crucial finals period.
On May 4, over 300 students attended Chabot College’s third annual Suicide Prevention Campus Walk and Fundraiser as part of Chabot Colleges Mental Health Week. The campus walk was on the Chabot College football/track field from noon to 3 p.m.
The event was hosted by Counseling Advocacy Resources Education Support, better known as CARES, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Campus clubs and programs came and showed support, like Restorative Integrated Self Education (RISE) and Revolutionaries Advocating for Greener Ecosystems (RAGE).
Before the event started, there was Land Acknowledgement on the field. Wellness Ambassadors respectfully acknowledge the original peoples of the land on which this campus is built. The land belonged to a Native American tribe called the Muwekma Ohlone tribe thousands of years before Chabot.
After the Land Acknowledgement interim dean of counseling Sadie Ashraf shared some words about the walk and what it meant to her by stating, “To come together as a community says a lot. We don’t know what’s behind someone’s smile or pain, and we don’t know what they are going through. We recognize that mental health needs to be discussed,” she continues talking about how suicide affected her” … I lost a parent to suicide, and I still tear up when I speak on it. We need to support mental wellness. I appreciate everyone coming together as a community, and I thank you.”
The walk itself lasted for only one hour from noon to 1 p.m. During the walk there were booths where participants could color, write poems, or play instruments provided, like congas, bongos, claves, tambourines, and other percussion instruments, to express their feelings.
The Hope memory board, an activity where attendees wrote poetry, words of inspiration, colored, drew pictures, or notes pinned onto a panel to express their passions toward the mental health of suicide.
“You are loved and cared for, you are enough, and I love you. Be yourself, treat others how you want to be treated, and just know that you’re worth it.” was stated in one note.
Another note had a touching poem titled For The Lost Little Boy.
“Here’s a poem for the lost little boy who lost his way home. Lost his way back to shelter, peace, and home. The lost little boy who cries at night lost with no guide to him back home. He’s afraid to reach out and ask for help because he fears those who criticize him for asking for help. I hope he finds his way home where he is loved and remembered.”
Chabot Instructor, counselor, and one of the organizers for the event, Juztino Pannella, explained the significance of instruments present at the event, and “We provided instruments and art supplies because some people can’t deal with all the thoughts and feelings about their mental awareness or don’t know how to, so they make a rhythm out of it. Others draw and write poetry with the Hope and Memory Board upon the board or write a note for their loved ones who were lost to suicide.”
Beads for attendees to wear at the event were provided with a total of 10 different colors, with each color representing a personal connection for individuals. For example, white stands for the loss of a child, red represents the loss of a spouse or partner, gold is the loss of a parent, and rainbow is for honoring the LGBTQ+ community. The colors helped the organizers and attendees identify and connect with those who understand their experiences.
One of the participants was a student named Mrs. Mack, who wore orange beads “I’m wearing this, and I’m here because I lost my niece to suicide she was 25 years old. Orange represents the loss of a sibling. I am also here to show support to struggling with it.”
Many attendees came to show their supporting Suicide Prevention. One of the attendees was Chabot College Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kennan McMiller. This is his first time coming to the walk. He said, “It’s an important cause of the society that we’re in right now. Some days it doesn’t feel like it’s getting any better. People are feeling discouraged,” Coach McMiller continues talking about how suicide and basketball player he once knew. “ … I had a player that was going to come and play for Chabot, but he came home and saw his sister hung herself. It messed him up mentally he stopped playing.”
The walk provided care, hope, and love for anyone who came. It was a safe place to support and express your feelings about mental health and suicide awareness.
Victor Camarena is part of the RISE program that helps recently incarcerated people get back on their feet with schooling and jobs. This is Camarena’s second year attending the walk, saying, “I’m here because I lost my daughter due to suicide. She was 15, and she meant a lot to me. Coming here greatly helps me because suicide needs to be talked about, and I support mental awareness.”
Pannello spoke on how suicide affected him, “I was affected by suicide when I first came to the college. It was an acquaintance — someone who was in the community and died by suicide. I also had a student here at Chabot who died by suicide. Those were impactful to me.”
The funding goal is to raise $5,000 by June 30th. Christina Cappello, the area director of AFSP in the San Francisco chapter mentioned where the funding goes, “One: Research studies that we fund help develop new and better treatments for mental health and suicide. Two: it goes into the community and school-based prevention education programs, and three: we also fund support programs for survivors of suicide loss and going through mental health.”
They have raised a total of $1,350, so far. The Wellness Ambassador team donated $325. Chabot College Softball donated $100, and CARES donated $50. Donations were also received from other attendees in person at the event or online.
This is a signature fundraising event started by AFSP in 2011, and they added, “The Out of the Darkness Campus Walks designed to engage youth and young adults in the fight to prevent suicide.”
The Chabot Campus Suicide Prevention walk started when COVID still had a chokehold on the world. It began in 2021 thanks to The Wellness Ambassadors and CARES. The first walk was a Zoom virtual walk due to COVID. Where people could communicate over zoom while on a walk of their liking Last year was the first in-person walk, with over 100 who came to show support. This year it doubled.
Student and Wellness Ambassador for CARES, Beatriz Ramirez, said, “Our goal is to raise awareness about suicide, and we want students and the community to come out and support it. We hope to talk about the stigma of suicide.”
According to the AFSP website, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2023. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims, as of 2023, just five months into this year, there have been 47,467 suicides in the U.S.
Bringing awareness to mental health and suicide is essential. Suicide can be a stigmatized, uncomfortable conversation that many don’t want to discuss or are afraid of. On the walk, it did not feel like that. People weren’t afraid to express or to talk about how suicide or let alone how mental health affected them and what can be done to decrease the number of suicides or how to deal with mental health.Life is complicated, and people can have much to deal with. If you know someone dealing with suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is open 24/7 at 800-273-TALK (8255). Also, on campus, CARES counselors are there for you. For more information on suicide prevention, go to https://afsp.org.
Please come show your support for the Suicide Awareness Campus Walk on May 4 as a part of Chabot College’s Mental Health Week. Check-in is 11:30 a.m. to Noon in front of building 4000. The campus walk is from Noon to 1 p.m. on the Chabot College football/track field.
From 1 to 2 p.m., there will be a free lunch provided for participants. Wellness resources will be available after the walk until 3 p.m. Circle of Support is an option to meet Counseling Advocacy Resources Education Support, better known as CARES Counselors, will be available.
The event is hosted by CARES, Chabot College, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). This is a signature fundraising event started by AFSP in 2011, and they added, “The Out of the Darkness Campus Walks designed to engage youth and young adults in the fight to prevent suicide.”
Student and Wellness Ambassador for CARES, Beatriz Ramirez, said, “Our goal is to raise awareness about suicide, and we want students and the community to come out and support it. We hope to talk about the stigma of suicide.”The funds collected for the event will be donated to further education, research, advocacy, and programming for AFSP with a goal of $5000. To donate or to register for the event, go to https://supporting.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=9365.For more information or questions on the event, contact [email protected].