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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2017 March 13 - 02:27 pm

Around Campus

A Look at Campus Life at Various Community Colleges

Exciting and colorful Chinese traditional music and dance lit up the stage at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center as Central Carolina Community College presented a performing troupe from Shanxi University, People’s Republic of China. The Shanxi University performance was part of an ongoing series of Chinese cultural performances and exhibitions brought to Sanford through the college’s Confucius Classroom. The classroom is a partnership with North Carolina State University's Confucius Institute, which works with the Chinese government to bring performing troupes from China. In 2009, CCCC was the first community college in the nation to establish a Confucius Classroom. “Our Confucius Classroom enables the college to prepare our students for living and working in a global economy,” said CCCC President T. Eston Marchant, who brought the idea for the classroom to the college when he became president in 2008. “It helps link our central North Carolina communities, governments, and businesses to China. Being able to host these superb performances is a major cultural bonus that connects the people of our nations in a very positive way.” Shanxi University is located in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, about 300 miles southwest of Beijing. The university was founded in 1902, one of the earliest national universities to be established in China.

College right after h i g h school isn’t for everyone. Just ask Jeff Riggins, a non-traditional student studying diesel technology at North Platte Community College (Neb.) “I didn’t like high school and didn’t want any part of college,” said Riggins, 39. “I wanted to get right into the workforce. For me, personally, I think it was a good idea to wait. I had to grow up a bit.” Diesel technology wasn’t on the radar for the Denver native either. Instead, he became a truck driver, and in 2011, found employment with an oil service company in Pennsylvania. “I worked closely with and was influenced by the mechanics on our fleet,” said Riggins. “I thought if the time ever came when I couldn’t drive a truck — diesel mechanics might be something I would be interested in.” Little did he know that time was close at hand. In June of 2015, Riggins was diagnosed with diabetes, bringing his driving career to a halt. By that time, Riggins was driving a truck for JB Hunt Transport Services, delivering feed to area hog farms. “I didn’t want to leave the transportation industry, but I had a four-year-old son to provide for,” said Riggins. “I decided if I couldn’t drive trucks, I would learn how to fix them.” A search on the Internet led him to NPCC. Not only did the college offer the Diesel Technology Program, it also was five minutes away from his home. He spent two hours touring the campus and was impressed by what he found. “The shops were well-equipped with new equipment, and the faculty, because they worked in the industry, were knowledgeable and experienced,” Riggins said. “I also liked that the program wasn’t specified training, and it wasn’t just working on some broken down farm tractor. It was general training on vehicles from a variety of manufacturers, the type of work I wanted to do in a shop.” Riggins enrolled in the summer of 2015 and hasn’t regretted a minute. He loves the hands-on aspect of the classes. Riggins takes classes online in addition to being in the classroom twice a week. He works at Twin River Diesel and Auto every day after school, and is now a father to two sons, ages 6 and four months. Riggins will graduate in May with an associate of applied science degree in diesel technology.

The Mott Community College (Mich) Honors College Clown Troupe is starting the Clowning Season. They will perform two of their popular antibullying shows for local elementary school children before heading to Philadelphia for an alternative Spring Break service trip, where they will perform in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade 12 followed by a week of shows in nine Philly schools. The ninemember troupe will “take their show on the road” with the Alternative Spring Break service trip. The Mott Campus Clowns are a trained clown troupe made up of honors students, and they are serious about the issue of bullying. Five years ago, the group launched a new anti-bullying project to help educate elementary school students on how to stop or prevent bullying.

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