Feather River College reports sunshine, with clouds on the horizon
Feather River College’s board meeting Thursday, Dec. 10, demonstrated in multiple ways how an organization could work together to bring about positive results.
The board heard from diverse groups that had approached a variety of problems in innovative ways.
Nick Boyd, director of facilities, received board approval of a memo of understanding between the college and Plumas County for a joint energy efficiency project. The county and the college will partner to apply for funds through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant that is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The county is the eligible agency to apply for funding, which will be in the amount of $108,574, to be split between the two agencies. Sixty percent will go to the county with 40 percent going to FRC. Boyd explained the split is based on the total square feet of space managed by each agency.
Funding will be used for direct purchase of energy efficient products. In addition, FRC will create a multi-semester class that will develop skills for students: facility assessments for energy efficiency; specifications, estimating, and purchasing the correct equipment; installation of energy-efficient equipment, lighting and controls; and monitoring installed equipment.
The ultimate goal of the course will be to provide job skills training for the emerging green industry to students who will use the skills in their employment in Plumas County.
Students will provide the labor to install the equipment in county and college facilities. The project involves a course instructor who is qualified to teach and is licensed as a contractor.
Joe Wilson, director of facility services for Plumas County, will manage the project from the county side. The MOU comes before the Board of Supervisors for an expected approved at its Dec. 15 meeting.
A semester-long student project resulted in a “Campus Climate Report” which, according to the summary, saw the “Political Science 140 class (Multiethnic America) conduct[ing] a ‘campus climate’ project to assess campus members’ perceptions of diversity, comfort, and equity (or fairness) at FRC. The purpose of this project was to use the data collected to bring attention to these perceptions in the hope of enhancing the awareness of our campus diversity.”
The class learned how to conduct a scientific study and to evaluate survey data. Students reported their results in written form and in a presentation to the board.
At the end of the survey, students had recommendations for the FRC administration’s consideration, including conducting a similar survey on a regular basis to track improvements and changes; improving publicity of campus academic and student service programs regarding diversity; and including more diversity-themed courses in the curriculum and in the general education requirements.
As a whole, the campus was perceived as quite tolerant of diversity. Edgar Morales, one of the project managers, said community colleges were typically more tolerant than four-year colleges and universities.
Perhaps the most notable discovery in the study, however, was the perception that student athletes received better services than the general population. Course instructor Katie Desmond said that topic would merit more detailed study in future surveys.
At the November board meeting, student trustee Jessica Camp presented a rather eloquent plea to the board and administration to reconsider their recent ban on food and drink in most areas of the campus.
During the following month, Camp met with Lisa Kelly, interim associate dean of student services, and began working on a well-thought-out proposal that would allow students to have food and drink in most areas of the campus.
Camp said that along with rules to encourage students to clean up after themselves, she wanted to post the “ethics” behind caring for and respecting the school.
Kelly said she’d enjoyed collaborating with Camp, and was impressed with how much progress was made when they decided to work together towards a solution.
The only shadow over the meeting came in college president Ron Taylor’s report of current and looming financial distress caused primarily by the state’s budget woes.