This week, many of us exercised our right as U.S. citizens and cast our votes to elect local representatives, senators, and congressional representatives, as well as the next president of the United States. The opportunity to vote and make your voice heard is not extended by many other countries to their own people. I speak from my own personal experience as having been born in a country where personal freedom did not exist. To not have had that freedom, that voice, that opportunity before coming to the United States makes me appreciate it even more.
The peaceful transition of our democracy from one administration to the next is to be celebrated, and with Veterans Day coming just a few days after the election, I am reminded of how we are all truly indebted to the men and women who have served, and are serving, in our country’s military, making major sacrifices for our freedom, safety and sovereignty. Their service allows us, as a nation, to hold peaceful elections that continue as our testament to the world, that we are, indeed, the greatest democracy on earth. We observed Veterans Day this week with a special ceremony and luncheon for our veterans who are students and employees. We want each and every veteran to know how grateful we are for your service to our country, and being part of our college community.
Here’s a short recap of my activities and meetings this week:
- Minnesota State College Students Association (MSCSA) and Chancellor’s Meeting – I met with Chancellor Rosenstone and members of MSCSA as part of their monthly meeting. MSCSA represents students regarding various system-wide policies and also works with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities staff on budget issues, building project planning, tuition, equity and inclusion, and system’s legislative priorities.
- Minnesota Philanthropy Partners - Met with the Board Chair of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners to discuss their strategic framework and committee chairmanship for Governance Committee.
- Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Leadership Council - I attended the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities leadership council meeting with other Minnesota State presidents.
- Concurrent Enrollment and Postsecondary Enrollment Options Meeting - I attended a day-long meeting discussing how to expand access and opportunities for students to take college courses while attending high school. Along with Chancellor Rosenstone and Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Services, I also met with two elected officials who represent Saint Paul College’s service district to discuss access to college credits and removing barrier to access to college courses for high school students.
- Charting the Future - I attended the College’s Charting the Future implementation team meeting and discussed the progress our team is making with various initiatives at the College for the first and second year of Charting the Future and the College goals.
- Neighborhood House Resource Development – I attended a resource development meeting at Neighborhood House, an intentional partner of Saint Paul College. Neighborhood House helps members of our community each year with basic needs, education, youth programs, and health and well-being. All of their programs are offered for free to participants.
- District Energy St. Paul and Ever-Green Energy – I attended the Ever-Green Energy and District Energy St. Paul board meeting and we discussed strategic planning and their visions for the future. In the district energy field, District Energy St. Paul is considered the most notable in the United States for its use of renewable energy sources and implementation of energy conservation measures.
- Donor Meetings – the Executive Director of Friends of Saint Paul College and I met with a potential donor and supporter of skilled trades occupational and high technology/innovation sectors to discuss fundraising priorities for the College. We also met with a philanthropic family foundation and explored ways to promote their engagements for funding scholarships and mentoring opportunities for Saint Paul College students.
- President’s Advisory Council Meeting - I attended the President’s Advisory Council meeting where we approved membership for two new Council members. We also discussed budget, strategic plan, the System’s legislative priorities, and shared updates related to the operation of the College.
- Management Team Meeting - I attended the Management Team meeting to discuss topics related to the Leadership Council meeting, Metro Alliance Presidents meeting, and the System’s Legislative priorities, as well as strategic priorities of the College and issues related to internal operation of the College.
- Promoting Equity and Inclusion – I attended the LGBTQ+ Resource Fair where over 20 organizations participated to promote services and resources for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. The daylong event was hosted and sponsored by the College’s office of Student Life & Diversity and our on-campus resource AmeriCorp VISTA LGBTQ+. The AmeriCorp VISTA LGBTQ+ project at Saint Paul College is a program that specifically addresses the opportunity gap for low-income LGBTQ+ students by assessing their needs, identifying barriers to their success and providing them with resources and support services on-campus and connecting them to community organizations.
- Presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Roseville - I made a presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Roseville and discussed the role of Saint Paul College in promoting economic development and workforce training in the Metro area, as well as Minnesota, and the region. Kiwanis is a worldwide organization with one goal in mind and that is changing the world by serving children one child and community at a time.
I will end this blog by offering my humble gratitude to our students for choosing Saint Paul College and allowing us to be a part of their career and educational journeys. I cannot thank our faculty and staff enough for their commitment to our students and their success. After all, if we do not take care of our students and our community, who will?
I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College