Saddleback College shows campus pride on Tuesdays by promoting student success

On Campus Pride Tuesdays students, faculty, staff and administration are asked to wear Saddleback College logo shirts or the college colors of cardinal and gold to promote student engagement with faculty and staff.

Since the first week of the fall semester, especially on Tuesdays, the campus staff and faculty are encouraged to wear the school shirt with “Ask Me” on the back so that new students could feel comfortable asking questions, explained Penny Skaff, counselor, matriculation coordinator, and co-chair of the Saddleback Student Success committee. “It would be really helpful [for new students], especially on a big campus,” said Saddleback student Ravyn Vinson, 20, a Theater and Business major.

“Definitely, because this is probably [those students’] first time on campus,” said Vinson’s friend Liz Ortiz, a 19-year-old Theater major.

The General Eduction classes Ortiz has to take are in buildings she was originally unfamiliar with. She said it would have be helpful had known about the program then.

Both Vinson and Ortiz are in their third semester at Saddleback.

“One of the fun things is that on Tuesday[s], if you’re caught showing college pride, we present whoever gets caught wearing the shirt with a small little gift card which has been donated,” Skaff said. “Then we ask their permission to put their name and image up on the college Facebook and the college Instagram.”

Tuesday was determined to be the most appropriate day because many Saddleback College staff members have a number of committee meetings on that day, Skaff said.

Any student can ask a person with an “Ask Me” shirt about classrooms and facilities locations on campus, said Skaff.

The success committee, designed to promote student success on the Saddleback campus, started this program at the beginning of this fall semester. The committee got this idea from a survey that was conducted by the Research and Planning (RP) Group for California community colleges.

The RP Group conducted a survey on what community college students in California desire from their colleges.  Six success factors were determined from the study; students want to be directed, focused, nurtured, engaged, connected, and valued. The study, which took place over several years, highlights what students need in order to be successful.

According to the RP Group, the study is “student support, [re]defined for community colleges”. It shows that students want to have goals and learn how to achieve them through focused help.  The RP Groups’s online research page shows that students want to know someone is there to help them succeed through participation in classes, extracurricular activities, and by the school showing them they are part of the college.

The Outreach department, student clubs during club rush, and the Associated Student Government (ASG) are encouraged to help keep Campus Pride going for students. The program will try to help students with their goals, and will ultimately show them that Saddleback faculty and staff members are here to help students succeed, Skaff said.

Furthermore, it encourages students to get involved and wear their school colors on Tuesdays.

So far, Skaff said it has been successful.

“Our students are great,” Skaff said. “I think they see every day as College Pride [day].”