Help Wanted: Meet the Three Finalists for Chancellor of ACC

In its 50th year, ACC is already nearing the final stages of its first middle-aged major change. Announced in an email to students, staff and faculty on June 16th was an invitation to meet the three top candidates to succeed Dr. Richard Rhodes in the role of ACC’s supreme position, the Chancellor.

By Nathan Adam Spear

In its 50th year, ACC is already nearing the final stages of its first middle-aged major change. Announced in an email to students, staff and faculty on June 16th was an invitation to meet the three top candidates to succeed Dr. Richard Rhodes in the role of ACC’s supreme position, the Chancellor.

The candidates – Dr. Robert Garza, Dr. Joyce Ester and Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart – have been highlighted as top choices for the position by the selection committee formed after Rhodes announced his departure in January, expressing love for the school but a desire for more time with his family. 

The school’s chancellor – or to put it a little less ‘Star Wars’, the president/CEO – works under ACC’s board of trustees, leading the college district in essentially all major decisions. Understandably, this makes the transition to a new chancellor a pretty big priority for the school and board, with Rhodes’ impressive and record-breaking 12 year tenure coming to an end.

The task of selecting someone to fill these shoes has been put in control of the aptly named Chancellor Search Advisory Committee. A 35 person team composed primarily of community members and ACC’s board of trustees, as well as various associations made up of administration, faculty and two ACC students.

“What I’m looking for is a relational leader who thinks and acts systemically to address the challenges of ACC and builds off our successes,” said Dr. Barbara Mink, sharing her notes for the board of trustees after hosting all three days of the candidates’ Q&A forums at Round Rock and Highland. 

As Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mink is a member of the search advisory committee and has been an active part throughout this nearly six-month long search process. Far from her first chancellor-picking rodeo however, Mink joined the board in 2000, and was originally hired as a dean for the school in 1973 – ACC’s first year of existence.

The Board Chair says that right now, the school could use a chancellor focused on, “internal housekeeping.”

Mink and the rest of the board organized a whole day’s worth of open-invite Q&As at three different ACC campuses for each of the candidates. 

“It’s Austin, people want to be involved,” said Mink, describing the importance of community forums in the search process. Starting up north with a session in Round Rock, each candidate on their respective day had to then travel south for two more stops at Highland and then finally, the South Austin campus. 

Although it’s a busy schedule – and not to mention over 50 miles worth of travel – Mink says that’s probably a good thing for the future president of (currently) 11 campuses to be getting used to.

As each session began to accumulate a size-able and outspoken crowd, some perspective on the chancellor’s importance to the ACC community was given along with the memory of a time before the pandemic. 

Several members of the board and selection committee made appearances; the Sociology Department Chair, Rennison Lalgee, had even referred to the event as a, “who’s-who,” of ACC faculty and staff as he arrived with his colleagues at the recital hall in the Highland campus. 

Robert Garza

The first day of forums introduced Robert Garza to the three campus audiences. Since 2018, Garza has been serving as Palo Alto College’s seventh president. Having around 30 years of experience in higher education, he first began working for the Alamo College District, which PAC is a part of, in 1999 before moving to Dallas College as the president of their Mountain View campus in 2015. 

In his hour of speaking, guided by approved questions from the search committee before taking questions from the audience, Garza made an initial point to learn who it was he was speaking to. Asking for a show of hands, he found in attendance at the Highland Q&A was a large amount of staff, a bit less faculty and only one enrolled student (me, but several more hands went up once alumni were included).

The largely framed but seemingly kind-hearted candidate had a familiar Texas accent and adopted a salesman-like approach to his answers – including light relatable humor, personal history and even a few rhetorical questions too, like: “Who thinks it’s easy to go to college nowadays?” or, “Is anybody a parent?” 

Similar to his previous employment, Garza’s academic history is Texas-centered as well. With a master’s in public administration from UTSA and both a doctorate in educational administration and the V. Ray Cardozier Alumni Excellence Award from UT; it was the bachelor’s degree from A&M in College Station that got a small “woo!” from someone in the crowd.

By describing some of his previous leadership initiatives, he stressed his strengths of collaboration and effective communication with both students and employees as the proper tools for leading the school.

“A chancellor is only one person, I can not say this enough,” worded Garza, “it will take everybody in this room and everybody who is not in this room to work together to help our students be successful in every possible way.”

Garza places priority in reaching out for feedback to target issues directly, and says to do that he currently hosts routine meetings with associations like his school’s staff and faculty senate. He also described his frequent “Whataburger with the president” days where he shares a meal at the famous Texas fast food chain with students or an organization while sporting his Whataburger guayabera.

Garza also has experience in collaboration outside of the school as well; as an example he referred to Alamo College’s involvement with 23 school districts for dual-enrollment programs and AlamoPromise which gives free tuition to students from participating local high schools.

Also during his tenure, negotiations with a nearby Toyota manufacturing site led to securing a work-study program between the under-staffed plant and Alamo Colleges. 

“They donate equipment, they donate money and they hire our students.”  Says Garza, acknowledging the importance of outside partnerships.

Though his authority is limited to Palo Alto College’s one campus, Garza assures that the increase in size at ACC won’t be a totally new experience. The Alamo Colleges are the state’s only current multi-college system, he says, meaning the need to travel and balance multiple locations makes it a similar experience to the multi-campus system here at ACC.

Perhaps due to his awareness of the audience’s demographic, Garza’s desire to increase employee morale was largely emphasized throughout the session. He advocated for hybrid (online and in-person) work days, and mentioned the one hour a week that his current employees get for on the clock “self-care”.

“You know as well as I do that folks are doing it anyway,” he says,  “I don’t want them feeling bad about it.”

Wanting to expand appreciation for the staff as well, the candidate mentioned his current school’s history of honoring good work by planting trees and devoting plaques to outstanding individuals.

“She has worked here for 50 years!” He said, referring to a woman he spoke with earlier who was now in the audience, “What are we going to do to remember her?” 

The room filled with laughter after she quickly responded with her own idea of, “More than a plaque!”

Garza has heavy pride in his Hispanic heritage and is even Board Chair for the Mexican-American Civil Rights Institute, a national organization which he says has a museum opening in San Antonio. 

Even with this cultural pride, Garza emphasizes that, “People are who we need to be supporting, it doesn’t matter what language you speak or what you look like, we’re all human beings.” 

Before adding, “I mean, I haven’t met a robot yet.” 

Joyce Ester 

Garza’s three forums seemed like a tough act to follow; the person to do it was top candidate and fifth president of Normandale Community College (NCC), Joyce Ester. 

In front of a very similar audience to yesterday’s, but at a much quicker pace than Garza’s slightly long-winded points, Joyce Ester introduced herself as having over 30 years experience in higher education – but only after first sharing her story. 

“Serving as president – or in this case, chancellor – is what I do, not who I am,” she says, “and who I am is a child of a single mom.” Understanding the many obstacles that can come in the way of academic success, she says this part of her identity is important for students to know and connect with more easily. 

There are several differences between Ester and her fellow candidates, the obvious two being that she is both African-American and a woman; but a less clear distinction, yet a more important one for some, is that she is the only choice from outside of Texas.

Her academic history, a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California in Santa Barbara and a B.A. in Sociology from Northern Illinois University, led to several faculty and staff positions in California before holding the position of president at both Kennedy-King College in Chicago and later at NCC in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The audience seemed to like her despite the lack of Texas experience – especially after her comparison of a Minnesota native saying, “that’s interesting,” to the Texas equivalent she learned about recently, “bless your heart.”

Not Texan, but she does have experience with large school systems. NCC is the biggest college in Minnesota, and only one of the 30 state colleges and seven universities that comprise the Minnesota State system – all of which are handled by one board and a chancellor.

“It’s really important to look at what our policies and procedures are.” Says Ester, adding that avidly reviewing and renewing policies is another goal she would take on as chancellor, “For many student’s the problem is that we made policies that maybe made sense five to ten years ago that we need to take another look at.”

Similar to Garza; First, knowing the specifics of a problem to advocate for creative solutions is Ester’s strategy for addressing the needs of a community. Due to ACC’s size and diverse needs, she assures that lots of time and the beginning of her tenure would focus on learning and understanding each campus.

She adds that it is important for her to know every campus’ “Jerry,” – a hypothetical person she explains is involved with the school and knowledgeable about its niche details. “[Jerry] knows where all the bodies are buried, and who put them there.”

One example of her history with using data to target change, she highlights, is NCC’s establishment of the “campus cupboard”. 

It was started with only small sustaining snacks, but after acknowledging that around half of the college’s students reported feeling “food insecure”, the “cupboard” – which is actually around the size of a classroom – grew to include basic groceries and even hygiene items at no cost to students. 

She also mentions an initiative taken at NCC to continue providing resources for students while also keeping the Maintenance and Operations department employed during the pandemic. While they weren’t needed at the schools, the worker’s in the department switched to food delivery for food insecure students.

“That was something that came from them,” Ester admits, “but I think my responsibility as a leader then was to empower them, to help them think outside the box and be a part of that process.”

She had a tendency to speak quickly; seeming almost out-of-breath at the beginning of her speech, the audience laughed when she worded a playful apology to the ASL interpreter for her pace – feeling guilty from her history working as an interpreter herself and teaching the subject as an adjunct professor. 

With significantly more time to ask their own, the larger audience than the day before likely wasn’t too upset about the speed she got through the initial questions. 

Some of the concerns regarded handling conflict and the importance of employee wellness. The audience seemed satisfied with her answers of, “[handle] conflict before it becomes a major conflict,” and, “We can’t take care of students, if we don’t take care of ourselves.”

Ester was also asked about her experience with a performance-based funding model, she denied having any but says she understands its existence, relating it to a car dealership saying, “if you’re not selling enough cars, then you’re not working here.”

She says that establishing better “metrics” for a student’s post-performance is important when not using an enrollment-based model, with credits at a community college often leading to multiple avenues beyond just graduating.

After a long history in the field of education, Ester’s retention of energy and passion for the job was evident and encouraging. 

She says, “I love the work that I do, it’s all about access and opportunity for all of our students.”

Russel Lowery-Hart

“I’m standing before you today because I think that higher education, and the bureaucracy that defines it, is broken.” says Russel Lowery-Hart, early on in his forum at the Highland campus.

Even while wearing a multi-colored bow-tie, Lowery-Hart approached his audience with a more serious tone, in contrast to the lighter approach made by his preceding candidates. 

Acknowledging HB 8, which passed legislation in Texas and transitions ACC to receive funding based on student outcomes, Lowery-Hart puts repeated emphasis on the need for a focus on ways to “double graduation rates” so ACC can have the “financial flexibility” necessary to address its employment needs.

He presents his 25 years of experience and nine-year tenure at Amarillo College, as evidence that he’s the one for the job. During his presidency there, which began in 2014, his college’s work at raising the student success rate resulted in it co-receiving the 2023 Aspen Prize for top community colleges, along with Imperial Valley Community College in California.

He says, “[Amarillo College] won that award because we closed equity gaps intentionally and thoughtfully, increased completion from 19 to 60 percent, doubled our graduation rates and deepened learning.”

After seeing an unimpressive success rate early in his presidency, Lowery-Hart focused on finding out the story behind the numbers through the use of focus groups and what he calls, “secret shoppers” – first-time students that were hired to enroll in college and report their experience.

He discovered that, “the top things that were keeping [students] from being successful in the classroom had nothing to do with the classroom.”

Using this observation and other data collection strategies he determined the average student at Amarillo College, located in the Texas city of the same name, is a Hispanic woman with 1-2 children. In an effort to humanize this statistic, he commonly refers to this typical student as “Maria.” 

Focusing on a way to help this large but struggling demographic, Lowery-Hart says he worked to develop Amarillo College’s “theory of change,” which states, “if you can remove a life barrier in an accelerated learning environment and a culture of caring, then Maria, our typical student, will complete.” 

To reflect this theory of change; social workers, poverty training and more emergency aid was implemented to help remove life barriers. He says the school started embracing eight-week classes as well as requiring integrated tutoring to improve both accelerated learning and its availability.

“Maria,” is likely similar to ACC’s demographic in the predominantly-hispanic population of Austin, but Lowery-Hart says that developing values and communicating a “theory of change” that is specific to the needs of ACC is crucial.

“I’m not going to be asking you to be a social service agency, I’ll just ask that you understand your students’ lived experience,” he says.

Lowery-Hart had done some research on ACC as well; looking at the school’s employee climate survey, he determined the need for an inward-focusing leader. 

The 2022 climate survey was conducted to report employee morale and reported negative feelings from faculty and staff regarding the college culture and listed stress as their second largest issue (the pandemic was number one.)

Marilyn, who teaches government at the Highland campus, said that she is “over the moon” to hear about a candidate wanting an internal focus; adding that ACC has a tendency to always be “chasing the next big thing.”

Like ACC, Amarillo College is a multi-campus system but with only six campuses in a 400 mile radius. Even with his experience in handling different locations, Lowery-Hart maintains honesty in his ability to efficiently communicate and become quickly acquainted with each of ACC’s campuses. 

“I think the answer that people want to hear… is that I’m just going to go to every office and sit down to have coffee with you,” he says, responding to a question about handling the school’s size, “but the scale is not going to allow that to happen in the first two years.”

Saying a 3-4 year process is more likely, Lowery-Hart’s strategy for upscaling the school’s impact involves building systems that train middle management to act on their own while using the data they have access to. 

He says it’s important to, “address the unique nature of each campus, but also unify the student experience.”

The audience was receptive to his personal history, providing a heartfelt “aww” when he explained that the “Lowery” and hyphen in his last name comes from his 27 year marriage.

This reaction was then followed by audible surprise from the audience, after learning his adopted son has been Mufasa in the touring production of the Lion King for the past six years. Chris, his adopted son, is a “six foot three, black, gay man,” that Lowery-Hart says changed his life.

“This isn’t the white savior moment, he saved us.”

In his forum at Highland, Lowery-Hart did neglect to mention his academic history: a Ph.D. from Ohio University, an M.A. from Texas Tech University and a B.S. from West Texas State University.

What Next – 

The entirety of the search process is divided into 11 steps, beginning with a request for applications and a long list of candidates from the executive search firm, Gold Hill Associates. 

Step eight – where the candidates participate in several community forums – is complete, and ACC now approaches step nine, which involves members of ACC’s board of trustees reaching out to the current schools of the three finalists. 

The board will use the feedback from these campus visits and the response papers collected from the forum’s audiences to make their final decision.

More than Graphic Design: A Look into the World of Viscom

by Amelie Cox

Visual Communication, also known as Viscom, is another world in and of itself. The rabbit hole of umbrella categories and sub-disciplines can be overwhelming at first glance. However, ACC’s faculty and staff have centered the department around student success. 

With an emerging digital presence, specialized graphic skills are more prominent than ever. The ACC Visual Design program was introduced in the Fall semester of 2019 and was added to the 2020 catalog. With this, students gained access to four programs within the department that offer in-depth, experience based education to prepare them for the work field. 

Graphic Design is at the forefront of Visual Communication as it is the most common and well known discipline; however, the umbrella of visual communication encompasses many different fields and niches that are easily unrecognizable due to the more common title. Viscom breaks down these specializations into the programs: Graphic Media Production, Graphic Design, Visual Design, and User Experience Design (UX). 

These programs sit on a spectrum, with a fair amount of overlap between each discipline. “The design field isn’t as siloed as it might appear to be,” program specialist Zoe Dahmen said. 

For many, the Viscom spectrum of disciplines is a starting place when entering the program. Graphic designed by Amelie Cox.

On one end of the spectrum we have Graphic Media Production, with expertise on the technical side of software and print production. Students are equipped with a deep understanding of printers, ink and how to prepare files for press, as well as similar skills on the digital end with screen-based applications. Graphic Media Production and Graphic Design go hand in hand, sharing the same foundation classes and working side by side to produce products. 

With skills primarily focused on print, Graphic Design students learn to create through typography, visual language, color imagery, type, space, layout, and composition. This discipline has been around as long as the print industry has, and they are responsible for designing a range of products from books, magazines and posters to packaging and branding.

Visual Design encompasses almost everything on screen as its primary focus is on digital platforms. As a newer technological concept that split off from graphic design over the last 5-10 years, there is a specific set of skills centered around screen-based applications. Students “need to know about responsiveness, meaning how windows can be resized,” department chair and professor Joisah Spence said. “They understand user interface, how users interact with things and how to make that interaction easy.” All of these skills are still based on basic design concepts that the graphic design program teaches.

At the other end of the spectrum there is UX Design – completely focused on the digital side. “There is less of an emphasis on aesthetics,” Dahmen said. Courses focus on designing interfaces for user friendly access, across a plethora of platforms. 

Ultimately UX is concerned with “what it is and how it works,” think of it as the psychology of design with a focus on how users think. Within this umbrella of user experience is information architecture, where students learn how to organize in a way that users can find what they need. 

Each discipline interacts with another, with Visual Design being the overlapping point of a lot of skills. This is where some confusion arises, even within the job market – which is exactly why the Viscom team is aiming to provide more information to students upfront. 

Fortunately, part of Dahmen’s job is just this. “I primarily advise students at every stage of them moving through the program,” Dahmen said. “I make sure they’re in the right program that fits their goals, what they ultimately want to do, and ensure it is in the timeline they want to achieve them on.”

Because the Visual Design program is rather new, and the term is not well known, students may enter ACC under the Graphic Design program but really have a digital focus in mind. The department seeks to make it easier for students to understand the difference between the programs and find what fits best for them. 

“To make this all more complicated, a lot of hiring managers don’t use the terminology in the same way that has become industry standard,” Spence said. He further emphasizes that when looking at job postings it is important to read the descriptions – as they may list the job under one title such as UX Designer, but really mean Visual Designer, and so forth. 

Another lack of clarity often falls within coding. “We teach all of our students a little bit of coding,” Spence said. “It’s just enough to understand the basics and to be able to interact with coders.” As with the other programs, there is a lot of overlap, especially with UX and visual design; however, coding is a separate discipline, and department entirely – that being Computer Information Technology. 

All of this goes to show how complex the world of design is, leading individuals to wonder where they stand. 

There are a variety of things to consider when deciding which department is the best fit, starting with the question, “am I more of a visual person, or conceptual person?” Furthermore, if you are a visual person, are you drawn towards aesthetics and working through how to communicate to audiences visually, or are your interests more on the technical side of software? Another key thing to consider is if you are more interested in hands-on creation or lean towards the growth industry of technical design. 

It is a lot to consider, and that is exactly what advisors in the department are here to help with. Students are urged to meet with these specialists as soon as they can, and encouraged to reach out even before starting their journey at ACC. And alas, the overlap in each area allows for some wiggle room if students do decide to shift into a different program. You can schedule your advising appointment and get a more in-depth look at what each program offers on the Student Field Guide

Viscom programs all come together as a department for the Spring semester  Portfolio Show on May 11 at the new Make It Center in Building 2000 at the Highland campus. This gives students an opportunity to showcase their work, as well as give prospective students a look into what skills are developed in each program. 

Riverbats Call On ACC’s Administration to Act On Housing

“They want us to be like our mascot and sleep under bridges.” The administration’s lack of support enables housing insecurity to persist, student government members say.

by Daniel Sadjadi

Last August, ACC’s Student Government Association (SGA) members presented a recommendation proposal to the Board of Trustees to address the shortage of affordable housing for students. 

The solutions included immediate steps such as creating a housing message board for students to connect with roommates, medium-term solutions such as creating a housing committee and increasing resources for affordable housing initiatives and programs, and long-term solutions such as working with the SGA and community partners to create more affordable housing options. 

The SGA also surveyed ACC students on their financial and living conditions. They received 533 responses and found the following:

  • 71% of students worry about paying rent
  • 61% have faced housing insecurity
  • 12% of students reported facing homelessness
  • 30% of students spend more than 60% of their income on rent
  • 31% report struggling to pay their bills after rent 
  • 20% have received rental assistance
  • 80% say COVID-19 has drastically impacted their ability to work and pay rent
  • 40% of students have been behind on rent
  • 11.3% of students have faced eviction
  • 7 current students surveyed were homeless

According to SGA Senator, Julia Cloudt, upon being presented with this information, ACC’s Board of Trustees asked SGA to return with more data on students’ housing situations. SGA members, who have already volunteered dozens of hours of unpaid time to gather data through surveys distributed in tabling events, classes, and through word of mouth, felt frustrated according to Cloudt.

The main issue for ACC students finding affordable housing is the lack of support from the administration, Cloudt said. 

“We provided them with short, medium, and long-term solutions and there has been a lot of red tape with them not making it easy for us to even get solutions out to students,” she said. “I think one of the main issues is that we brought a lot of evidence to the administration and I think they see it as ‘it’s housing, it’s too big of an issue.’”  

Some of the main solutions proposed by the student government included providing information on affordable housing within a ten-mile radius of each campus and creating an app to connect students looking for housing. However, the administration has not taken any significant actions to address this issue, leaving SGA to deal with it themselves, Cloudt said. 

“We provided them with short, medium, and long-term solutions and there has been a lot of red tape with them not making it easy for us to even get solutions out to students”

Cloudt says that there is a misconception that students are looking for a huge solution to the housing issue, but they are only asking for help to help themselves. Cloudt also expressed that the lack of guidance and support provided by ACC to the Student Government is discouraging. Cloudt believes that the excuses given by ACC might be both legitimate and illegitimate, as there is data that ACC already knows that students are struggling with housing and even homelessness. 

Rent in Austin has increased 93% since 2010 and the majority of students reported struggling to afford housing. Cloudt experienced housing insecurity herself during her senior year in high school and was forced to stay with friends after facing homelessness. She struggled to find work and save up to get her own apartment. Struggling to find housing and a job while homeless made a significant impact on her education as she was unable to attend school regularly during that time.

“I didn’t know where to go. I had no savings. I had no job. No support… I just had to stay with friends while I was looking into getting a job so I could save up and get my own apartment. That was like three or four weeks after me having to just go struggle by myself. I didn’t go to school that entire time. I had teachers reach out to me and call me because they were like, you haven’t been to class. I was using an old iPod Touch, so I didn’t even get the messages until after I was back home. I was real-life struggling. I almost slept at a bus stop one night, but I was so scared for my safety that I walked four miles to my friend’s house, it’s either that or maybe getting raped or assaulted.” 

The lack of affordable housing affects students’ ability to focus on school and their overall well-being, as their basic needs are not being met. The transportation system is also a significant problem for people who do not have stable housing, as many are forced to rely on public transport, which takes away time and energy from their studies.

During a meeting with a trustee, they confirmed that the city fined ACC $1 million for not keeping apartments at Highland campus affordable, said Kay Trent, SGA’s president. At Highland, the Ella Parkside apartment building features 300 units but only 30 of which are reserved for affordable housing. A one-bedroom apartment would set you back $1,400 a month. “You need three or four times the rent to be able to sign off on it… my own teachers don’t make four times that amount. It was beyond affordable housing,” Cloudt said. 

Frustrated by the lack of action, a group of SGA members organized a peaceful protest on campus by putting sticky notes onto advertisement posters for the Highland campus, containing quotes about the high cost of housing and living expenses. The sticky notes were taken down the next day but the group plans to continue protesting and keeping the pressure on the board to address the housing issue.

“The SGA hopes to find solutions within ACC but is also looking to reach out to other sources for help if they continue to be ignored,” Cloudt said. The protest was successful, with the group receiving coverage in a local newspaper.

Trent said that ACC has the money to buy or build student housing, but is choosing not to. She suggested the closed ACC Pinnacle building could be used for student housing instead of converting it into a vineyard for the culinary department. Trent stated that ACC has displayed a lack of care for their students that is reflected in the budget, which is close to a billion dollars but not being used to build affordable housing. 

At one of the Board’s meetings, the topic of the administration’s frivolous spending while ignoring basic issues came up. In 2019, ACC Chancellor Richard Rhodes received a 5% raise which brought his salary to $360,000. SGA members say this money should have been used for student housing instead. Trent also noted that the administration rejected a $20 living wage proposal for ACC employees. 

Trent said that the investments made by the college are not always in the best interest of the students, like offering food services but making them prohibitively expensive to students, such as in the case of $9 ‘grab-and-go’ snack options at Highland.

Trent says that the college should invest more in resources that would benefit students, such as affordable housing for those without families and single mothers. Trent believes that providing a safe and stable housing environment for students would allow them to focus on their academics without being in “survival mode.”

Trent said that the city’s efforts to combat homelessness have not been effective and that the issue has only gotten worse without any permanent solutions. She stated that the city council needs to be more active and work together to find a solution, ‘as everyone is talking in circles about housing but nothing is actually being done to address the issue.’

“I just think that it’s selfish that a city can continue to go on this way. Or they try to push you out of the city, because the surrounding areas – Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown, all of that they still consider that to be Austin. But to live in Austin, you have to give up two legs and a half a year to afford it… Everybody’s sacrificing, like I sold my car because I was like, ‘Well, I can walk to school, I really don’t need a car per se,’ but also I couldn’t afford the gas, and insurance and gas are a big killer, especially if you’re already barely making rent.” 

Providing a safe and stable housing environment for students would allow them to focus on their academics without being in “survival mode.”

For ACC students struggling with housing insecurity or looking for a place to live, the college has a student emergency aid program that gives out a maximum of $500 to help with temporary housing, but there is no one on staff to talk to for more permanent solutions.

Trent has been working since April to address the issue of students not having their housing and other basic needs met. She has been reaching out to different departments for help and working to build bridges between them. She believes the ball is in the Board of Trustees’ court to find a real solution. 

“Nobody’s asking them to build an arcade, a gym, or anything. All those things would be lovely to have, but we just want housing right now… and so it’s just a lot of holding them accountable, a lot of physically going up to the Board of Trustees meetings, being in there, having interviews with people across the city. It’s a very challenging task, but it’s not impossible.” 

She plans to continue the fight, even after she graduates from ACC, to hold the Board of Trustees accountable for not addressing the issue of housing. She is also looking to partner with other organizations to help find a solution.

SGA (Student Government Association) at Austin Community College is a group that helps students with various issues, including housing. They represent 72,000 students on campus. The best form of contact is to reach out to the ACC SGA email address listed below. 

SGA tries to help students who are being redirected endlessly by other organizations on campus. SGA is a group of people who are tirelessly fighting for students and trying to help them. Change can only happen when people become involved, so the SGA encourages students to become involved and reach out to them. You can find more information and volunteer to get involved with SGA here.

Student Government Association Email: [email protected]

The Honors Program: curiosity and critical thinking

Spring semester is around the corner, meaning students are taking the important step of making their schedule before registration ends on Jan. 3. 

What many students are not aware of is that their classes can improve significantly by enrolling in an honors course —which no, is not part of an elite society— but an academic program that encourages and celebrates curiosity. 

Story by Marisela Perez-Maita

The ACC Honors Program provides a number of benefits for ACC students —from classes to internships and scholarship opportunities. Dr. Anne-Marie Thomas, Chair of the Honors Program and also an honors English professor, has seen over the years how students connect with one another and live experiences that traditional classes do not normally offer. 

“Small classes allow a lot more close interaction between the students themselves and the faculty,” Dr. Thomas says. “To me, that’s a big selling point. All honors classes have a substantial discussion component which encourages and strengthens the spirit of inquiry in the students.” 

In honors classes, students get the opportunity to get a deeper dive into a particular subject, Dr. Thomas says. She teaches composition with a focus on science fiction as well as a literature course on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.

Students still cover the same transfer requirements as a traditional class but with deeper discussions and experiences, including field trips, visits from guest lecturers and service learning. 

“For example, the theme for Professor Endl’s Astronomy class is about whether there is life in the universe, and apart from studying the possibilities for life on other planets, with an instructor who has actually discovered an exoplanet, students get the opportunity to use the telescope at the Round Rock campus,” Dr. Thomas says.

Students realize the difference between traditional and honors classes right away. Aatmodhee Goswami, an ACC Computer Science student, started his academic journey in 2020 during the pandemic, “Since it was online, it was a little bit harder to get that sort of interaction with professors, especially with 30 or 40 people in a Zoom call,” Goswami says. “I learned, but it wasn’t as interactive as I would’ve liked it to be.” 

ACC Computer Science student Aatmodhee Goswami shares insight on honors microeconomics and English composition classes he took during an interview with reporter Marisela Perez-Maita.

Upon finding out about the smaller class sizes that honor classes offer, Goswami decided to sign up. Since then, he shared that taking these classes provided a fun and interactive academic experience, “I personally really like the fact there is a personal connection with each of the professors. I can remember specific experiences with them,” Goswami says.

For example, Goswami explained that each one of these courses has influenced his academic journey and general interests. The Microeconomics course with Professor Croxdale prompted him to self-study AP Macro, and after his first composition class with Professor Thomas, he is now into science fiction. 

Students may get the misconception that these courses are difficult, but according to Goswami, even a class like Calculus II is interactive, “I do suppose Honors classes take more work, but I for sure take more out of it and they are more fun,” Goswami says.

During an ACCENT interview on the Honors Program, Dr. Anne-Marie Thomas explains everything that the program has to offer.

There is no due date for enrolling in an honors class as they follow the regular registration timeline. However, not all courses are offered every semester and there is a maximum of 15 students per class. 

It is important that students check early to make sure their plans are aligned with which courses are available.

To be part of the Honors Program, it is necessary to apply and meet only one of the listed requirements among which include having a 3.25 college GPA from at least 9 college hours or being in the top 15 percent of one’s graduating high school class.

Once accepted, students can become even more involved in the program. The paid internship opportunity to be an Honor Ambassador includes students engaging in leadership activities at ACC events, doing recruitment and classroom presentations and creating social media content. 

Nora O’Halloran signed up to be an ambassador after her first honors class, “As an ambassador, everyone does what their strengths are or what they are interested in learning. For example, we have people who love editing videos and that’s what they are learning in school, so they get to edit the fun videos that we work on,” O’Halloran says.

The position has online and in-person flexibility so students can choose what works best for them. 

“We have ways to make things accommodating, which is one of the many wonderful things about being an Honors Ambassador,” O’Halloran says. “The key is to get involved as much as you can; reach out to Dr. Thomas and explain your interests. You can volunteer in the Honors Student Organization as well. All of these will help you in the long run.” 

Apart from Honors Ambassadors, the Honors Program has a partnership with the University of Texas at Austin called UT’s Youth and Community Studies (YCS) Fellows Program. It consists of a series of spring workshops about civic leadership, community building, social justice and restorative practices. Students who participate and complete the YCS Fellows program are eligible to become interns in another program at UT along with receiving transfer advising from the university’s advisors. 

The YCS program provides a certificate upon completion, which, along with all the experience from the internship, can help students get into UT if that’s what they are aiming for. 

Even more, if students need help regarding honors courses and transfer goals, they can set up an appointment with the honors advisor Jana McCarthy in the Honors Programs.

To find out more, the Honors Program’s social media provides information about what they are up to as well as future ambassador openings. For example, two weeks ago was Honors week across the ACC district. Daily events were hosted across ACC campuses and remotly To mention a few were the Columbia University School of General Studies Information Session and “A Legacy Beyond Bloodline” talk with UT Austin professor Dr. Octavious Butler. 

If students want additional recognition on their transcripts, they can go to the website and read how to become an Honors Scholar along with the steps to apply for the Honors Scholarship. 

Be the student that takes advantage of all of these benefits and celebrate curiosity with the Honors Program by enrolling in honors Spring semester classes!

Computer Science Club Highlight

Story by Nathan Lu

Graphic by Claudia Hinojos

When first enrolling in Austin Community College, very few students recognize the importance and benefits of joining a student organization. Although it may appear that spending numerous hours in meetings is a waste of time when other obligations such as school, work, and family take precedence, joining a student organization like the Computer Science Club is one of the best decisions that a student can make.

Produced and written by Nathan Lu, the video interviews Computer Science Club members Hani Kamee, Malik Rawashdeh and Jason Kim covering their experience in the student organization.

The Computer Science Club (CSC) is one of ACC’s most active and largest clubs, where students interested in programming, technology, and software can share common interests, support each other, and work on projects that impact the community. Hani Kamee, a passionate Software Development major, joined the club during the Spring 2022 semester.

At first, Kamee was hesitant to join the club because he did not know what to expect from a tech-related student organization, but he quickly realized that it was one of the best decisions he had ever made. “I know for a fact that when you surround yourself with like-minded people, you will thrive and prosper, and that’s what I did,” Kamee said. 

The group’s primary purpose is to provide a community where students from all backgrounds can experience the power of coding and support each other throughout the process. Although the club is geared toward Computer Science students, the group welcomes all students interested in technology.

Malik Rawashdeh, the club’s vice president, saw the expansion of the club first-hand, from a group of 50 students to an active community of 300+ members. By inviting professionals from the tech industry to speak during the club’s general meetings, members can learn from experts and visualize a clear path towards a job in software engineering.

“We’ve had a freelance web developer come in and talk about his day-to-day work, professors come in and speak about their graduate studies in machine learning and neural networks. The blockchain club at UT Austin gives an intro to cryptocurrency and the blockchain itself,” Rawashdeh said. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all club meetings have been entirely virtual, but the club has consistently grown in size while beginning to shift back towards in-person meetings.

Members of CSC aren’t just satisfied to be typical CS students either; instead, they go out of their way to build projects that impact the community. “Our first project was a website portfolio, where anyone interested in building a personal website could join and share work,” said Jason Kim, the club’s treasurer. The club has also organized a browser-based game, machine learning subgroup, and a discord bot, all projects outlined and created by club members.

One of the more notable projects the club has worked on is an overlay system to improve accessibility for disabled people concerning video games. In traditional first-person shooter games, sound and communication are vital to playing any game competitively. Club members knew that solving this problem would significantly bridge the gap between the disabled and gaming communities. The team created an overlay system to visualize sound in the form of visual cues on the screen and a detailed voice chat transcription service. By utilizing their knowledge of audio manipulation and native system manipulation, the team provided accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing community and was able to see the impact of their work first-hand.

Additionally, CSC holds interview preparation events on a regular basis for members interested in preparing for the job acquisition process. “Through our tech-interview workshops and mock interviews, [students] were able to prepare themselves for the job searching process, and several of our members landed jobs at very well-known tech companies,” said Rawashdeh. 

While the club recognizes that working on projects is essential, homework help is still at the core of what the club stands for. By building a diverse community of students with different skill sets, there is no question left unanswered, no matter how difficult the question is. “Every time I’ve asked for help, I got it,” said Kamee. The world of software engineering is one of the most technically challenging fields, but by collaborating with others, the Computer Science Club ensures that those who need help can receive it. The club hosts general meetings every week and has various club projects and events occurring throughout the week, free for anyone to attend. 

The Computer Science Club welcomes students from all backgrounds and aims to foster a supportive and encouraging environment. Rawashdeh encourages anyone interested in coding to join CSC and experience the thriving community first-hand. “If there is one thing that I’ve learned from the club, it’s that coding is a collaborative effort. If you might not know something, somebody else probably does,” Kim said. 

For further inquiries or questions, join their Discord channel today!

Revealing Different Layers of Pedro “Pete” Ramirez, Editor-in-Chief of ACCENT Student Media

The writer’s ever-changing journey to his current position has been a chart of restlessness and recklessness. 

Story by Angelica Ruzanova

Edited by Pete Ramirez

Growing up in the border town of Edinburg, Texas in the Lower Rio Grande Valley known for its multicultural populace and immigration controversies, Pedro “Pete” Ramirez’s curiosity about his community and people prospered at an early age. 

From orchestrating theatrical productions on stage at Texas State University to weaving his developed interest for photojournalism and writing on his personal email newsletter, Frontera Free Press, Ramirez embarked on an intuitive path to finding his “beat.”

“I would like to develop a beat which I can really focus on and potentially turn into an expertise,” he said. “I have a lot of different interests, and that’s really what fascinated me about journalism from the start. I love learning, and journalism allows me to learn a little about all the things I want.”

The mindset of the lifelong learner was cultivated after he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater from Texas State University, and began yearning for something greater than the resemblance between what he sees of himself and what his sharpened awareness told him others expected him to be. From being a brand ambassador for an energy drink beverage company to going into third-party logistics in the freight industry and later working as an assistant manager at one of the properties owned by Austin’s Housing Authority, it was new and different each time. 

“I didn’t know what I wanted out of life,” Ramirez said. “And especially by this time, I have come to accept it. Everybody’s path is different and I am just going to enjoy the ride, learn as much as I can, and take care of people that are around me.”

Frontera Free Press, although overshadowed in the midst of his current positions, played a crucial role in developing his career in journalism after his involvement in an opportunity with the Google News Initiative which he stumbled upon while listening to a tech podcast. 

“[Frontera Free Press] was geared towards community-oriented news about people, events, and different kinds of situations people went through which were diluted by these big scandals on immigration on the news in that area of the state,” Ramirez said.

The door of the unwelcomed pandemic opened a glimpse of new turbulence. Ramirez, having once again redirected his career towards property tax law working as a paralegal, found himself at a standstill. 

In early 2020, as Ramirez made an impulsive decision to quit his law firm job to pursue a newfound job in culinary arts, Ramirez was thrown into the abyss of unemployment and became distraught as he watched the COVID-19 pandemic embed into daily life. “Here we are, in 2020. I was about to start a new career, and it all got whacked away,” Ramirez said.

At this point in life, Ramirez started taking journalism classes at Austin Community College, where he was referred to ACCENT, a student-led media organization. He began as a volunteer writer – taking any assignment that was thrown his way. The following semester, it seemed his superiors noticed the rushing enthusiasm to take on greater responsibilities. Ramirez was appointed as the editor-in-chief in the summer of 2021. 

“Pete became ACCENT’s editor-in-chief at the most confusing and rough times,” said Kate Korepova, the Art Director of ACCENT Student Media. “He never thought of leaving the organization, but rather did everything possible to keep the staff happy and positive, only hoping for the best. He sympathizes with every member and is always willing to help.”

Ramirez’s future goals are pragmatic, as he strives to build a steady portfolio and carries hopes to one day move onto his dream job working as a reporter for the Texas Tribune. “I would like to be a better journalist, applying the AP style and distinguishing between ethical and unethical scenarios as there are a lot of gray areas.”

Ramirez’s journey, though rugged and unpredictable, echoed a portentous road of new beginnings. 

“I approach it as never being able to stop growing and developing. Really, nobody ever does,” Ramirez said. “We are always changing. That’s the only constant in life – change, within everybody and everywhere in the world around us.”


This story was produced in Professor Paul Brown’s spring 2022 News Reporting class and a nearly exact version can be found on their class website, ACC Star. In collaboration with Professor Brown and with his express permission, we published the story here on ACCENT’s website.

Learn How to Go Green with ACC’s Green Team

Story by Georgina Barahona

Edited by Pete Ramirez

Have you ever wondered what you could do to protect the natural environment around you? Have you ever tried to calculate and lower your carbon footprint? 

Austin Community College’s Office of Energy & Sustainability can help you address these questions and discover how you can get involved in creating a more sustainable world through green initiatives led by their Green Team.

The large and ever-growing department’s Green Team consists of ACC faculty, staff and students who volunteer to improve environmental sustainability on campus and throughout the surrounding city.

The office and its Green Team work to continuously elevate the knowledge of sustainability to those they have the opportunity to work with, students and community members alike.

The Green Team welcomes all volunteers with open arms, no matter what community they come from. 

Inspired by the work of the Office of Energy & Sustainability, Angelica Ruzanova, a first-year journalism major at ACC, decided to join the Green Team last fall.

“Our ACC Green Team works by offering particular activities, advocacy and action,” Ruzanova said. 

The organization has a calendar of events accessible to anyone who wants to join their movement in ecological restoration, including events offered by The Trail Foundation.

“The Trail Foundation is a beautiful place to start with hands-on projects,” Ruzanova said. “We do planting, weeding, invasive species removal, trash clean-up, mulching, and other ecological restoration activities on the Ann & Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail.” 

Angelica Ruzanova works with other Green Team members to spread mulch at the Ann & Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail. Follow the foundation’s Instagram account @thetrailfoundation.

You can find the organization’s events calendar by clicking this link. The Green Team provides a wide variety of events curated to teach individuals how to take that first step towards environmental awareness.

One of the upcoming events that is open to ACC students is the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability on Monday, April 4, 2022 from 1 pm to 5 pm. 

The event is a free student virtual summit with the theme being student empowerment and climate action. If you would like to attend the conference, send an email to the Green Team at [email protected]

If you get involved with ACC’s Green Team, they’ll introduce you to the seemingly endless possibilities to learn new and realistic ways to combat climate change.

From helping to implement sustainable living ideas into a conference like Adulting 101, to acquiring access to off-campus events where other like-minded individuals share ideas about approaching ecological restoration, there are countless opportunities to get involved.

Jasmin Rostamnezhad, Sustainability Manager at ACC’s Office of Energy & Sustainability, works with her teammates and volunteers to find new and creative ways to make fighting climate change accessible and achievable to the everyday person.

“My passion is working with each person & getting them to understand that the little things you do have a big impact,” Rostamnezhad said. “I do that by tabling with students at ACC and creating resources for people to use after their time at ACC.” 

Jasmin Rostamnezhad, Sustainability Manager at ACC’s Office of Energy & Sustainability, speaks to ACCENT reporter, Georgina Barahona, about her office and the Green Team’s recent work.

Ruzanova says the Green Team is a place where you can share your ideas about sustainability and work with the team to turn those ideas into reality.

“Starting small, on an individual level is what makes it special,” Ruzanova said.

“You can go from so many angles with sustainability because it’s a universal movement acknowledged throughout the world, with people from different demographics and different socio economic levels bringing something to the table by sharing their stories,” Ruzanova said. 

“Having organizations such as ACC Green Team, who work so hard to organize these events, is a step towards widespread sustainability in our community in Austin and a realistic example of what action is capable of,” Ruzanova said.

But ACC did not always have sustainability in mind. As the consensus around climate change reached a tipping point during the 2000s, the college moved to change with the times.

The blueprint to enact college-wide sustainability policies was created and adopted by ACC in 2009 with the C-9 Sustainable Practices Policy and the Sustainable Construction and College Operations Guidelines/Procedures. In the same year, ACC joined the Carbon Commitment, which is a public pledge for the school to take steps to make the entire college carbon neutral. 

As these initiatives were put to the forefront of the college’s taskbook, the steps to creating climate neutrality among the college were put into full effect.

But wait, what is climate neutrality? 

In simple terms, it means reducing greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide, which is created by burning fossil fuels, as soon as possible by balancing those emissions so they are equal to or less than the emissions that get removed through the Earth’s natural absorption. Fundamentally, it means we reduce our emissions through climate action.

Rostamnezhad realizes that her work is cut out for her but she is driven by the hope of building a better world for all of Earth’s inhabitants. 

“Ultimately what inspired me to get into this field is the impact that our climate issues and environmental problems have on certain communities as well as low income communities and disadvantaged communities that are unfairly targeted by our behaviors everyday,” Jasmin Rostamnezhad said. “I think that should inspire everyone to want to change the way that they live.” 

Student Organization Profiles

By: Patrick Davis

Joining a student organization at Austin Community College may be the last thing on your list considering the demands from classes, work, family responsibilities, internships, and more. However, there are students involved in student organizations who will tell you that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. ACCENT met with three students involved with student organizations to hear about their experiences.

ACC’s Student Life website has a list of 115 student organizations, although not all of them are active. If a student cannot find the organization they are looking for, an advisor will work with the student to create a new organization. That is exactly what happened to Devin Driskell of the Future Business Leaders of Austin (FBLA) and Ashley Pesina of the Latinx Student Union (LXSU).

Pesina was a member of the Hispanic Students Association (HSA) in 2009. When she came back to ACC ten years later, she found that HSA was no longer active. With Advisor Jessica Oest’s help, Pesina started working on a new student organization for Latinx students. LXSU officially became an organization in Oct. of 2020.

The group’s primary purpose is “helping individuals escape a sense of otherness that the Latinx community is often confronted with,” Pesina said.

Although LXSU is concentrated on the Latinx community, the group welcomes all students.

Ayeesha Green giving a presentation on finance during a virtual Future Business Leaders of Austin (FBLA) meeting
Ayeesha Green giving a presentation on finance during a virtual Future Business Leaders of Austin (FBLA) meeting.

FBLA was also founded by a student who couldn’t find the club they were looking for. Since starting FBLA only two years ago, the student organization membership has grown to have 50 members to this day. The group aims to “help people be ready for their journey into the business world,” Driskell said.

While the group is focused on business majors, Driskell believes that the skills fostered by FBLA such as public speaking, networking, and interview skills, can be of use to students who are pursuing any degree plan.

Alpha Gamma Pi is the ACC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an international honor society for community colleges. The group was founded on four hallmarks: scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship. PTK works in the community through service projects and volunteer opportunities.

Alicia Stadler is currently the vice president of PTK of the Highland campus and has served as president and historian in past semesters. Stadler said that she initially joined PTK to improve her transfer application but gained a tight-knit support system.

“The officer team has become my family. I love them all. They’re great people,” Stadler said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student organizations have moved their club meetings and events to online platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom. Pesina has noticed that meeting virtually makes it challenging to bond with other LXSU members. However, Driskell has actually seen a rise in FBLA membership since the start of the pandemic, presumably because virtual meetings are more convenient for students to attend than in-person events. The biggest challenge these students have faced when joining or starting the groups has been finding the time to participate and organize activities.

Driskell sees a silver lining in that challenge, as it has helped him improve his time management skills. He has also become more comfortable with public speaking.

In addition to time management, Pesina also cites greater patience and accountability as qualities she has gained during her time with LXSU.

Driskell, Pesina, and Stadler all speak highly of their time spent in student organizations. The time invested can create new friendships, networking opportunities, and real-life skills. Student organizations give their members the chance to work with a diverse group of people, including other students, advisors, and industry professionals.

Stadler encourages anyone who has the opportunity to join a student organization to do so.

“You never know if you’re going to meet your best friend, or meet somebody who could help you get into these dream schools, or just meet some really, really great people,” Stadler said.

COVID Safety

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, eat, play, and overall live. Reporter, Marissa Greene captures some images that you may have found to be familiar during these times.

Marissa Greene

mask on the ground

As more people utilize face masks to protect themselves from COVID-19, the more we might see them in places other than the trash. Social media has started to urge that people dispose of their used face masks properly by cutting the ear rings before disposal.

caution tape on a pole in front of a playground

A park in Pflugerville, TX has wrapped caution tape around swings, jungle gym, and more to prevent children spreading the virus from these commonly touched items.

gloved hands with a pumpkin on the floor

Although we may feel that wearing gloves while grocery shopping, using the ATM, and touching other public-accessible items may be another preventative, the CDC on the other hand suggests that gloves are primarily necessary when cleaning or caring for someone who is sick.

hands sanitizing

When washing hands is not an accessible option, using hand sanitizer can be a temporary alternative when needing to disinfect hands in the moment.

white, red, grey, and green masks lined up

Face masks and covering have evolved since March with improved ear loop functionality, patterns of fabric, and has even become an addition to ways people represent themselves.

hands washing with soap

Hand washing is necessary to keep yourself and others safe. The World Health Organization and the Center of Disease Control recommend washing your hands in warm water for at least 20 seconds. 

person at computer on desk

Since March, Austin Community College students, professors and other staff have transformed the classroom and social community to an entirely virtual platform. Many students graduating Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 will be earning their degrees and certificates via their computer screens.

Five Remote Events for Taking a Break

Written by Marissa Greene

If you’re looking for a way to take your mind off the current events, Student Life has a variety of activities for ACC students. The catch, be signed into the Student Life Portal to see all events at austincc.edu/mysl.

  • Netflix Party Movie NightsNetflix Parties

Every Friday night Student Life will host Netflix Party Movie Nights where students can watch movies such as Nacho Libre, Tall Girl, and Cloverfield with fellow Riverbats through Netflix Party. Netflix Party is a free chrome extension that allows people to bond over some of their film favorites remotely. If you enjoy Netflix Originals with high school nostalgia and embracing one’s differences you can’t miss Tall Girl on April 17. If you love Superheros or are a Marvel Fanatic mark your calendars for May 1 for Antman & The Wasp. Lastly, who wouldn’t want to wrap up the semester with a movie that will leave you on the very edge of your seat? If that’s you, be sure to catch Cloverfield on May 8. To attend these events, simply RSVP to the event on the ACC Student Life Portal.

  • Kahoot Trivia Wednesday
    If you would rather enjoy putting your trivia skills to the ultimate test, make sure to partake in Student Life’s Kahoot Trivia Wednesdays. Every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Student Life will host a virtual Kahoot where students can compete with others on a variety of topics. For all of the sports fans, make sure to go big or go home on April 22 during Sports Trivia with Riverside. If you can paint with all the colors of the wind or own 101 Dalmations be sure to check out Disney Classics trivia with Northridge on April 29. If you always dreamed of having superpowers like Spiderman or Black Panther don’t forget about the Marvel Cinematic Universe trivia with Eastview on May 6. If you are always keeping up with the Kardashians and the latest trends you can’t miss Pop Culture trivia with Cypress Creek on May 13. There is only one entry per student per trivia. Not to mention, if you fill out the survey at the end of the trivia your name will be in the running to win a gift card. To be known as the ultimate trivia master, RSVP to the event on the ACC Student Life Portal.
  1. Life Skills 101life skills 101

Want to get a head start on building your future? If so, you’ll not want to miss the Life Skills 101 presentations hosted by Student Life through WebEx. These presentations will include life lessons that aren’t learned in the classroom such as a retirement planning workshop on April 28. Both events will begin at 1 p.m. and will last for about an hour. Find the details on how to participate in the Student Life Portal.  

  • Craft-ernoon
    Create fun projects using common household items by joining Student Life on Instagram @accstudentlife. If you are unable to see a loved one, or are currently able to enjoy their presence make a visual essay about them April 17. See the Instagram stories and create your own collage on May 1. Details on the Instagram Stories and Student Life Portal.
  • Meditation Mondaysmeditation mondays

Feeling stressed? Learn how to build mindfulness and incorporate yoga into your weekly routine with Meditation Mondays hosted by Student Life. These 30-minute yoga workshops will take place through Google Hangouts at 11 a.m. on April 13, April 27, and May 11. Discover your inner yogi while also entering yourself in the drawing for a gift card by completing a survey after the event. One entry per ACC student. Don’t forget to RSVP to the event on the ACC Student Life Portal.