Campus Connections, Top Stories, December 21

Students build greenhouse for local school

Greenhouse3-optimized_smPhi Theta Kappa members have built a greenhouse at a local elementary school to help pupils learn about food and environmental sustainability.

For its Honors in Action project, members of SMCC’s PTK honor society built a 16-by-20-foot greenhouse at Dyer Elementary School in South Portland. Garden beds will be installed inside the greenhouse next spring.

PTK each year undertakes an Honors in Action project that provides opportunities to practice real-world problem-solving by developing an in-depth, action-oriented project. The initiative will be entered into the national PTK Honors in Action competition, with the winners being announced at PTK’s international convention in April.

To build the greenhouse, PTK members met with Dyer school officials and arranged for Home Depot to donate much of the material for the structure. Haskell Construction donated the use of some equipment.

But the best will come when the elementary school pupils begin using the greenhouse next spring, said Ellie Garnsey, vice president of the SMCC’s PTK chapter.

“It’s a sustainable project so it impacts not only a group of kids in the school, but also groups into the future,” she said.

Elizabeth Fowler, principal of Dyer Elementary, said the greenhouse will be used to promote environmental education and sustainability efforts at Dyer and within the school community. The K-5 students at Dyer, she said, will be directly involved in defining the purposes and determining the uses of the greenhouse.


New classes for Spring Semester

SMCC is offering new classes for the Spring Semester that teach skills that are in high demand in the workplace. Now is the time to check out these classes as you finalize your Spring Semester schedule.

New classes are being offered in Architectural & Engineering Design, Business, Communications, Education, Math and Physics. They include:

  • Industrial Design (AEDD 107). This course introduces students to industrial design and teaches them about the phases that consumer and environmentally related products go through from conception to production.
  • Business Modeling with Excel (BUSN 195). This class is offered online and focuses on the in-depth use of electronic spreadsheets as a problem-solving tool.
  • Technical Writing (COMM 201). This course presents a basic study of techniques used in technical fields to communicate in writing and through presentations.
  • Technology and Learning in the Classroom (EDUC 110). This course introduces students to the technology available to optimize teaching in the 21st century.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching (EDUC 115). This course focuses on effective teaching methods when serving culturally diverse populations in the classroom.
  • Math for Quantitative Reasoning (MATH 112). This course explores the connections between mathematics and facets of modern life including work, money management, civic participation and recreation.
  • Physics for Engineers I (PHYS 200). The first in a two-semester series, this course primarily serves students with a strong mathematics and high school physics background intending to major in engineering.

Full class descriptions, schedules and book requirements can be found on the MySMCC student portal.


Dialing for student success


SMCC is helping students keep on track toward academic success through volunteer phone banks.

Dozens of SMCC staff members volunteered their time at three phone banks in December, calling nearly 2,000 current students who had not yet registered for Spring Semester.

Thanks to the volunteer efforts, SMCC helped many appreciative students register early for Spring before they left on holiday break, and reduced the number of students who were dropped. It’s important for students to register early to get the courses and schedules they need.


SMCC chosen to host TEDx event in April

SMCC has been chosen to host a TEDx conference, wildly popular events that aim to foster learning, inspiration and wonder — while provoking meaningful conversations.

TED is a nonprofit that began in 1984 as a four-day conference in California devoted to Technology, Entertainment and Design; today it covers almost any topic from business to science to global issues in hopes of sharing and spreading ideas around the world.

In the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program helps communities, organizations and individuals produce TED-style events at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis, under a free license from TED.

SMCC will host its first TEDx event on April 7, 2016.

TEDxsmccME will center on the theme “Mind the Gap” and explore ideas of old vs. new, tradition vs. innovation and struggle vs. triumph by acknowledging the space that connects them. Sharing how Mainers are joining the technical, economic and social evolutions of the 21 century, the event will celebrate our strengths and open our eyes to new possibilities.

TEDxsmccME aims to inspire students and the broader community as they navigate their educational journeys, stimulating hope for a new future and encouraging the next generation of civic and professional leaders to take action.

Interested in volunteering? If so, please contact Katharine Lualdi at 207-741-5893 or


Foundation scholarships ease college costs

The SMCC Foundation helps students succeed by giving scholarships that lessen the impact of tuition costs and reduce the amount of money they need to borrow.

The nonprofit Foundation raises funds that enable SMCC to enhance academic programs, revitalize classrooms and equipment, and provide scholarship support for deserving students. Each year, it gives out about $200,000 in scholarships to about 200 students.

Beginning in February, the Foundation will hold a series of coffee gatherings to honor this year’s scholarship donors and recipients.

The Foundation’s latest initiative is to reconnect with SMCC alumni and expand relationships with area businesses to grow resources to support SMCC students and programs.

To make a donation, visit the Foundation’s website at