Top Stories: September 25 Campus Connections

New clubs broaden student opportunities

Learning isn’t just about academics. SMCC has numerous student organizations — including several new and prospective clubs this semester — that allow you to pursue your interests outside of the classroom.

SMCC’s student organizations draw students interested in space (the Association of Cosmic Explorers), writing (The Beacon student newspaper and the Writ literary publication), business (the Business Club) or social justice (SMCC chapter of Southern Poverty Law Center and the Rainbow League). Other student-run organizations include the Veterans Club, Phi Theta Kappa, the Gaming Club, the Boffing Club, Cosplay Club and the Captain’s Cupboard.

This semester, students have organized a Comic Book Club and a singing club, called SMCC A Capella. Other students are in the process of trying to form a rock-climbing group and an archery club.

Student Samantha Godel says she formed the A Capella group for anyone who’s interested in singing or performing with just their voices. The group meets in Hildreth Hall, room 102, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Zach Dupuis is recruiting members for a rock-climbing club to go to a nearby rock-climbing gym two or three times week for rope and free-hand climbing. “At the end of the day, it’s an exciting new experience for challenge-seekers regardless of skill level, and a great opportunity for growth,” he says.

People interested in joining can send an email to

A list of student organizations can be found on the SMCC mobile app, which can be downloaded for free on Android and iOS devices.

For more information about joining or forming a student organization, contact Jason Saucier, Director of Residential Life and Student Involvement, at, or Rik Sawyer in the CeSIL Office at


Achieving the Dream kicks off at SMCC

More than 200 faculty and staff participated in SMCC’s Achieving the Dream (ATD) kickoff to learn about how ATD can help SMCC build upon its strengths to ensure more students complete their education and have greater opportunity for economic success.

At the Sept. 14 kickoff in the HUB, employees heard how Achieving the Dream provides a methodology to help SMCC use data-based approaches to improve student outcomes.

“SMCC faculty and staff remain in the driver’s seat as Achieving the Dream provides a framework for bringing student success to scale,” President Ron Cantor told the group at the kickoff. “Achieving the Dream helps us make data-informed choices to sharpen our focus and achieve our priorities. It helps us tune and turbocharge our engine — something that’s absolutely essential given the fact that our mission is nothing short of the transformation of lives and communities.”

At the kickoff event, employees heard from President Cantor, Maine Community College System President Derek Langhauser, professors who serve on the ATD Student Success Core Team, and success coaches from Achieving the Dream. They also took part in activities aimed at giving them a better understanding of potential obstacles to student success.

The Kresge Foundation last fall awarded an $810,000 grant to The Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges, allowing SMCC and the state’s other community colleges to join the Achieving the Dream network. Through its network of more than 220 community college nationwide, Achieving the Dream is helping more than 4 million community college students achieve their educational goals.

As part of the ATD framework, SMCC will work one-on-one with dedicated ATD coaches over the next three years, using data-based approaches to improve student outcomes.

With an aging population and a declining number of high school graduates, Maine needs SMCC and the state’s other community colleges to excel now more than ever, Langhauser said at the kickoff.

“Make no mistake, we do important work and we do it well,” he said. “But because we all came to a community college to make a real difference in real time in people’s lives, Achieving the Dream improves our highly desirable ability to measure that which we commit to do.”


Sexual Health and Awareness Week events on tap

The Student Activities Committee is sponsoring the annual Sexual Health and Awareness Week from October 2-6. The events are still being finalized, but will include:

  • HIV Awareness, Outreach, and Free Rapid Testing Provided by the Frannie Peabody Center. Tuesday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Campus Center
  • Share Your Story/Show Your Support for Survivors of Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault. Thursday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m.,-3 p.m., Campus Center
  • Condom Casino. Thursday, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., Campus Center
  • Candlelight Vigil for Survivors of Domestic Violence. TBD
  • Screening of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary film about the incidence of sexual assault on college campus. TBD
  • Look for our flyers on campus about these events and more starting this week.

Scholarships benefit Precision Machining students

Precision Machining students are getting a boost in their education thanks to a generous donation to the SMCC Foundation.

The Gene Haas Foundation for the second straight year has donated $12,500 to provide scholarships to Precision Machining students over the next two years.

The scholarships provide much-need assistance to students who are juggling family, job and other responsibilities while attending school to build bright futures for themselves.

For Sarah Thomson, the money will help keep her student loans at a minimum and help pay for tools and books for her classes. Sarah has a double-major, in Precision Machining and Business, and expects to graduate in the spring of 2019.

“This is a massive help,” she said.

Joel Messinger, 35, worked in the boatbuilding industry for a decade before deciding to come to SMCC and enroll in the Precision Machining. The scholarship is particularly helpful with a wife and two daughters.

“It goes right back into the household, like groceries and utilities,” he said. “It’s huge in helping us with our household needs.”

The Gene Haas Foundation provides scholarship dollars to community colleges, high schools and special educational programs that help build skills within the machining industry. The foundation was started by Gene Haas, the founder and owner of Haas Automation, America’s leading builder of CNC (computer numerical control) machine tools.

The SMCC Foundation is an independent, nonprofit foundation that raises money from businesses, civic groups, community leaders and individuals for academic programs, classrooms and equipment, and scholarships for deserving students. People can support the Foundation by calling the Foundation office at 741-5559 or visiting its webpage.