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All College Meeting sparks the new year by stressing the value of community

By Cait Kemp

Tuesday, September 13, at 12:15 p.m. marked the start of the annual All-College Meeting hosted by President Mary-Beth Cooper. Standing tall on the makeshift stage in Blake Arena in front of Springfield College students and staff, the topic of community was the focus as President Cooper addressed the crowd. 

Springfield College is unique in that its tight knit community shares the same goals, passions and mission. There are other small private colleges, but there are none that mimic the camaraderie and common value of the College philosophy that Springfield is able to share with peers on campus. 

“Even Billie Jean King, when she was here for commencement last spring, remarked during our 24 hours together how special Springfield College was and we needed to leverage our brand,” Cooper said. 

President Cooper went on to explain that the overarching goal of the year is to get the Springfield College messages of Humanics, spirit, mind and body and service to others out to a bigger audience. 

The All-College Meeting included several different speakers, all who intertwined that aspect of community into their addresses.

President of the Faculty Senate Eileen Cyr discussed that one of the Senate’s missions is to send the message of value among community members. 

“How do we let everyone know that we value their presence on this campus?” Cyr said, posing the rhetorical question to the audience. 

Her goal is not just to work to appeal in recruitment, but also retention. It is important to get students and staff to want to come here, but it is another thing to keep them here. Retention is something that Cyr wants to work towards, which includes equity throughout aspects of the College. 

Student Government Association President Doug Wydom mimicked the sentiment of the community. He shared that, this year, the SGA will be hosting open meetings in order to promote transparency around decision making on campus. This will allow for anyone to get involved in discussions that are happening about matters that are important to them. Wydom also announced that the SGA will post monthly minutes of their meetings. That way if anyone cannot attend the meeting in person, they can still be informed about what is going on. 

Continuing the theme of community, Graduate Student Organization President Tina Riordan spoke about how graduate students would like to see more activities in order to create a positive learning and professional environment. The GSO has already implemented a survey in order to get feedback and has been able to host several events already this semester to give students an engaging experience. 

To cap off the celebration of community, the annual Cheney Award was presented to a most-deserving Springfield College staff member. President Cooper described this person’s disposition as sunny, and someone that can leave anyone smiling after an interaction with them.

President Cooper and Annie Warchol pose for a photo after Warchol was awarded the Cheney Award.

The Cheney Award was proudly given to Annie Warchol, Springfield’s Assistant Dean for Student Engagement, who began to get emotional during her speech. Warchol has worked tirelessly to create an environment that students truly enjoy being a part of, even through the difficulties of COVID-19, and is widely appreciated by the student body at Springfield College. 

During a meeting that was centered around the idea of community, Warchol is someone who truly encompasses that exact spirit – as she dedicates her work to it every single day.

Photos Courtesy Springfield College

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