Tag Archives: students

Community college events help boost voter rolls

MECC StudentsNew voters have been signing up “in droves” at a number of voter registration events held at Virginia’s Community Colleges, area newspapers report.

With Virginia expected to register more new voters than ever before this fall, Virginia Community Colleges have been the sites for a number of voter registration drive events at colleges. 

The Rock the Vote organization as been at Mountain Empire (Mountain Empire Community College lets good times roll with voter …Kingsport Times News –Sep 10, 2008); Virginia Highlands (Students rock the vote Southwest Virginia Today –Sep 30, 2008) and other colleges. Reality show celebrity Jose Tapia visited J. Sargeant  Reynolds last week for a forum with students (Young voters seen as key to turnout – Richmond Times Dispatch –Sep 29, 2008)

Community colleges have always been key in grass-roots election campaigns.  When higher education bonds are on the agenda, as in 1992 and 2002, local networking through community colleges often pushes those measures over the top.

In the Kingsport Times News, a Mountain Empire student said:

“A lot of young people don’t understand their votes matter…” said Emily Allen, wearing a Rock the Vote T-shirt splattered with Rock the Vote stickers. “We have to know that we have the power to influence how our future goes. We need to recognize, we do have a voice.”

The deadline to register to vote in Virginia is Monday, Oct. 6.

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Enrollment, interest increases in community college in tough economy

There’s a wire story appearing in news outlets across the continent this week noting that community colleges are at record enrollments — due to a tough economy. Written by Richmond’s Zinie Chen Sampson, the story features a Mathews family who has decided that Rappahannock Community College is a better alternative for the first two years of college.

Whitney Daniels and her mom are appearing on the websites of print and tv media from here to Anchorage, Los Angeles and Amarillo, in a week when political news otherwise dominates the newswaves.

And other local media folks are picking up on it, too, as students start back to school in record numbers at Virginia’s Community Colleges.

In the Roanoke region, WSET in Lynchburg notes Virginia Western’s enrollment is at record levels, with student seeking an affordable education.

WVIR in Charlottesville quotes students as saying it just makes more sense to start out at the community college.  There are “just a lot of opportunities…to come here, save money and do a two year degree program and then transfer to the school I want to go to,” says one student. “It’s just a whole lot easier to come here,” says another.

Of course the underlying theme is that the economy is weak, pushing demand for community college classes higher — just at a time when Virginia, along with many other states, faces shrinking budgets and may have to cut back on services.

Community colleges provide opportunities that deserve ocean-to-ocean news coverage. It’s too bad it takes budget cuts and weak economies to bring that to the limelight.

— Posted by Susan Hayden