GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College may look like a ghost town, but you better believe their students are in class, working on their educations.
"I'm thrilled and impressed with my campus every day that we talk about this because our campus has truly done some incredible things really flip a whole college from a year ago today,” said school president, Dr. Bill Pink. “Today now, we're about 75 to 80% virtual about 20 to 25% in person”
He says the latest order issued by the state's health and human services department required them to move even more students online, except for some of their healthcare and public service programs; and the school is still thriving.
"It's amazing to look out the window and see very, very few people, it's almost surreal but as I think about it, because of this pandemic is how our colleges how we programmed it and that therefore, we've been able to be very minimal with the number of positive cases on our campus because we programmed it that way, to be been on campus. And to be able to still be open,” said Dr. Pink. “That word closed hasn't been a part of us. We've been open this whole time."
They’re making sure their students can continue to succeed; by loaning out laptops and hotspots to students who need them.
GRCC even teamed up with the Kent District Library.
"We're helping and partnering with them in terms of that Wi Fi signal being blasted all over the parking lot so that our students if they live in remote parts of Kent County. They can do not have to come into campus, just to access our Wi Fi, they can go to Kent district library locations and be able to access these as well,” Dr. Pink said.
the school also continues to make food available through their pantry.
"it's imperative, as well, that our students because so many of our students, some of them around food and housing insecurity is the food side what we can do as being again partner with different organizations here in Grand Rapids. We've given away right almost 2000 baskets and boxes to our students. Even during the Thanksgiving holiday when we were able to do provide some Thanksgiving baskets for students who are in need as well."
Dr. Pink also added one more resource every student should have in their arsenal.
"https://www.grcc.edu/studentlifeandconduct/gethelp that address itself has a lot of these resources and you and I'm talking about today from, how to access technology and how to access food and access some of our community organizations are able to do that. That's one of the main things we stress to our students, especially going into these holiday times and we're getting ready to holidays can bring a whole lot of loneliness and especially in days we're in a pandemic when we're maybe stuck at home a little bit more than you used to."
For more on those resources click here.