by Alexus Huston

If you take a walk around the NCCC campus, you might find yourself admiring the amount of posters you’ll find on the walls throughout the school or even in the bathroom stalls, letting you know about events like drive-in events, build a bear, or even grocery store bingo for the students of NCCC. With such cool and interesting opportunities offered around campus, it makes you wonder, who is running these activities? Meet the Student Life family; a group of students like you and me who simply want to create a good environment for other students at NCCC.

It’s people like Maurice Jackson (on the left), Allyson Clark (on the right), and plenty more who run the Student Life program. Their mission is simple: “The mission of the Student Life Office at NCCC is to be committed to student learning and building community outside the classroom. Student Life is here to encourage and promote the well-being of the whole student by providing a wide variety of opportunities for the students of NCCC. Our goal is to help develop our students into lifelong leaders to enhance campus life and our surrounding community.” (-Student Life page). If you notice any Student Life members on campus, you will see how quickly they move and how much they have on their plate. Students like Maurice Jackson and Allyson Clark are very very busy, but yet they still found time in their busy day to answer my questions.

Let’s start off with some information about you; What’s your major? How old are you? When do you graduate?

Maurice Jackson: “I am 20 years old and a dual major within the Business Administration and Accounting programs here at NCCC with plans to graduate in the Spring semester this year.”

Allyson Clark: I am 20 years old. I was double major up until December, and I graduated with libral arts humanities and social sciences, and then in May I’ll graduate with my human services.

What do you do when you’re not on campus?

Maurice Jackson: “Some of my outside-of-campus activities include spending time with my family, especially my aunts and grandmother, however for the most part I am on campus with the exception of most weekends this semester. Homework and binge-watching television is also a way I pass the time when off-campus.”

Allyson Clark: When I’m not on campus, I’m usually at home, playing with bunny or planning my wedding with my fiance.

Describe your daily life on campus.

Maurice Jackson: “My daily life on campus involves attending in-person classes, doing assignments to class, and depending on the day working in either Admissions or Student Life as a Student Ambassador, or even completing office hours and attending meetings.”

Allyson Clark: Typically I’m here by 8 in the morning. Every day is a little different so I’ll look to see if there’s any pressing matters in the Student Government office, and I’ll see if there’s any meetings coming up that day and just get ready for those. I only have one class on campus this semester, and the rest are online. From there it’s either event prep, or work as a student ambassador for the office of Student Life, so usually I’ll go around and make sure the flyers are up to date or even prepare flyers to be put out.

How do events get created at NCCC? How does the Student Life Team come up with them?

Maurice Jackson: “For community service events, we typically partner with different local organizations such as Missions, Nursing Homes, Domestic Violence Shelters, and many other groups. For the more interactive events, there’s plenty of student input on what we want to see on campus, plenty of which from both the Student Government Association and the Campus Activity Board as it is without a doubt a team effort.”

Allyson Clark: There’s a few different ways events come up on campus, if they’re a Student Government event, then our programming committee helps put those ideas together. We also work with the campus activity board and they come up with a lot of events, like Casino Night. Any of the clubs we have active on campus can create their own event ideas, and they just submit a request to us and we’ll help them with the fundings, the workers, the cash boxes, whatever it may be- all of that goes through the office of Student Life and our student Government advisor (and supervisor of Student Life) Heather Trumble.

What upcoming events are you excited for?

Maurice Jackson: “One event we recently just completed was the CAB Casino Night, an event that was collaborated with by Student Life, CAB, and the SGA. The next event I am excited about is Alternative Spring Break, which is the opportunity that Student Life offers students to give back to a different community, with this year being Key West, Florida in which those who participate will be working with Habitats for Humanity for the duration of that week-long break.”

Allyson Clark: Honestly I’m really excited for all the events in general this spring, we’re doing a different take on most of our events. We’ve really tired to add leadership and inclusion aspects into all of the events; weather we’re including an education portion, for example an autism awareness event in April, we’re doing a women’s empowerment event (March 7th) the day before International Women’s day, sometime around the 17th we have KaJay coming in for Black History Month, and is speaking on what life was like for her when she came here from Jamaica.

How big is the Student Life team? How many people on the team are students and how many are teachers?

Maurice Jackson: “Like many other aspects of the campus, Student Life is not a major on campus but rather the department that focuses on extracurriculars and other meaningful connections outside of a classroom through different services such as community service, campus life, a food pantry, and student involvement. The Student Life team consists of five staff members and a variety of students, plenty of which are in different leadership positions on campus, myself included.”

Allyson Clark: For the Office of student life, we have two full time faculty members; which is Heather, who’s the Student Government advisor and the supervisor of the office, and Molly who works with community service. As of right now there are about 6 students working for Student Life either as work study employees who help with the food pantry, or student ambassadors who help with event prep, and advertisements around campus. We also have two graduate assistants, one who is in charge of clubs and organizations, and the other who is in charge of E-sports and the gaming and anime clubs.

What is your biggest stressor in the Student Life program?

Maurice Jackson: “My biggest stressor in Student Life has been finding my voice/purpose as a student leader here on campus, something Student Life has been helping me with since I started. I was pretty antisocial and quiet in high school, especially when it came to speaking publicly and my confidence, and those are some of the things I have improved on since starting.”

Allyson Clark: With Student Life, it’s very easy for you to just come in and help with a few events or you can actually work for Student Life. Since they’re an office on campus, they have a lot of different responsibilities. I think my biggest stressor would be not having enough students involved, it’s hard when you have a small group of students trying to put on the events for the students. We wanna try and make it as memorable as them as possible.

What are some benefits you’ve found from being on the Student Life team?

Maurice Jackson: “Some of the benefits I have found since being in Student Life include being able to volunteer and work at different events, all of which promote student involvement. My reputation and resume have grown massively throughout the past few years, which would not have been possible without joining Student Life. Despite being a wiseacre in class prior to college, my biggest issue was I was quiet outside of class, a loner if you will, and that is something I learned to balance since joining the Student Life team.”

Allyson Clark: The biggest benefit that I have found is that I was able to discover who I am as a student leader. When I started here, I didn’t anticipate getting involved with anything, and my grandfather actually made me go to Student Life and ask them for a job. The second I started working with them, Heather told me I should apply for Student Senate at the time. From there I figured out I did have what it takes to become a student leader.

What have you learned since joining the Student Life program?

Maurice Jackson: “Since joining Student Life, I learned a lot about myself and became more comfortable in my abilities to not only become a team player, but also a leader and to myself in learning what I can bring to the table.”

Allyson Clark: The biggesting thing I’ve learned is how to read a room and find a way to make it interesting and accessible to all. So I really think Student Life has helped me open my eyes to all the possibilities in terms of engaging events for students on campus.

How long do you have left at NCCC? What’s your plan after?

Maurice Jackson: “So for my time as a student I have three months left, not including coming back in the Fall semester as an Orientation Leader. After NCCC, I plan to attend a four-year university in order to obtain a Bachelor’s degree.”

Allyson Clark: I’m undecided right now, I was actually going to transfer over to Buff State. Eventually I’ll end up in Buff State, I’m not sure if I’ll go right from here, and I’ll get either my communications degree or a public relations in advertising degree for my Masters. I’m planning on opening my own event planning company. Eventually we’ll get there.

Is there an achievement or contribution that you’re most proud of here at NCCC?

Maurice Jackson: “ The achievement I am most proud of throughout my time here is becoming the first of my parents’ children to graduate from college, something that seems small but also is meaningful to me as I am also the first of my grandparents’ grandchildren to graduate with a college degree as well. My contribution that I am most proud of is just having the ability to be a voice for the students here on campus, which increases with daily interaction with current and future students and alumni.”

Allyson Clark: Now that I’m coming closer to the end of my time here, that’s like a really emotional question, cause there’s been so much that’s happened. I became the co-founder of the National Society of Leadership and Success chapter on campus. Within my first semester, they brought me to a leadership conference, and I was able to secure an internship, and then start an honor society on campus specifically for leadership. I guess that’s one of the things I’m proud of, but that’s also a defining moment for me to realize that I had to stay here and keep doing what I’m doing. I was also part of the facility’s committee, and I was actually the chair. I helped spearhead the student hub renovations that we’ll be hearing about in April, and if we get the grant then we’ll have the ability to fix up downstairs.

Can you tell me more about renovations for the school?

Allyson Clark: The gaming lab looks so cool, you want everything to match that aesthetically pleasing look, you want everything to be as inclusive and accessible. It hasn’t been touched since they found it in 1962. I want all of the student centers to match this feel, you come in here (the upstairs cafeteria) and you see students everywhere, same with the Learning Commons, that’s why they specifically designed it that way. I just want to make sure that the students keep having more spaces like this. Why waste space? If there’s space, use it for something for the students. My favorite thing that’s gonna be put downstairs if we get the grant, is we’ll finally have a diversity lounge. All of our diversity clubs on campus will have their own room. It’ll have a desk in there, a conference room, zoom capabilities, they can go in there and plan events themselves, they can go in there and run their club meetings, they can go in there and just talk to students and see what they need. I’m excited about that.

What attracted you to this program?

Maurice Jackson: “I remember the day I saw a flyer to join Student Government, which at the time was called Student Senate, and it seemed like a great opportunity, considering the concept of helping others whenever possible. I joined as a freshman and went from there, finding ways to make myself not only a leader but a better team player. ”

Allyson Clark: I think it was, when I first walked into the office of Student Life, and I saw that it wasn’t really like an office, they do community service, and they do leadership, there’s clubes, there’s events, there’s activities, there are so many things that the Office of Student Life does, it was hard to say no. That was really the center of what keeps students on campus. For me, my grandfather and my mom both worked here, so I’ve been on campus for as long as I can remember; but when I finally became a student, and found out they’re doing more than what they used to do, that’s what kept me here. They help the students so much that I just had to stay and be a part of it.

What is your favorite thing you did in the Student Life program?

Allyson Clark: On campus I do a lot of things, I think my favorite thing is being the Student Government association president, just because I’m able to work with all the clubs. We don’t have as many clubs as we used to, but it’s the best kind of variety of students on campus, and so it gives us a glance at how we need to change the programs that the Student Life or Student Governments puts on. On top of that, I think leadership has really, because of NCCC, become something I want to stay involved in for the rest of my life.

Are you in need of new people in the Student Life Program? If so, how can people join your group?

Maurice Jackson: “Whether through Student Life, Student Government, or any of the clubs and organizations offered on campus, there are many ways to connect and get involved here on campus. Come by G-117D (the Clubs and Organizations Office) or G-243 (the Office of Student Life) both are great ways to start becoming more involved on campus.”

Allyson Clark: Before the pandemic, we had such a large group of students helping out on the Student Life team. Now it’s been hard to get the students engaged again, but students can come to G-243 (the Office of Student Life) and they can learn about how to get involved in their office. If they’re looking to get involved with a club then G-117D (The Student Government/ The Clubs and Organizations Office) we keep all that information in there. But really, all you have to do is look at the pictures on the wall outside the gaming lab, and if you see those people’s eyes, feel free to stop and ask them questions.

Are there any questions I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Maurice Jackson: “A good question that could have been asked is; Why should students join/Get Involved? To answer this question, I would like you to think back on how high school was, and compare it to now. There’s a difference and it is pretty positive how much has changed. We both came from the same school that did not have the best reputation and we both found different ways to benefit our community since then.”

If you feel like you’d be the perfect fit to joining the Student Life program, feel free to stop in at G-117D (the Clubs and Organizations Office) or G-243 (the Office of Student Life) and ask how you can help, we’re coming back from a weird time, and it may seem difficult, but you can make a difference for your fellow students, college is supposed to be the best years of our lives, so why don’t we help make it the best?

Two kind individuals, like many who spend their time trying to help students have a wonderful couple of semesters. If you find yourself wanting to help other students the way they do, feel free to stop in on the Student Life office and see about how you can help. These students are balancing their busy lives while trying to make our life here a memorable time.

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