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Incoming Students Are ‘Individuals’

August 4, 2010

BMCC is known as the premier urban community college, and via word of mouth and effective advertising campaigns, more students have applied to BMCC for the fall 2010 semester than ever before.

Case in point? At the recent New Student Assembly, not only was Theatre I completely packed with accepted students—every single seat in the auditorium was occupied—but Theatre II and Richard Harris Terrace were also filled with soon-to-be BMCC students.

After an introductory musical performance by artists Yuichi Iida and the Brown Rice Family, Dr. Marva Craig, Vice President for Student Affairs, introduced herself to the students in Theatre I, and via video streamed live to students seated in Theatre II and Richard Harris Terrace.

“This is the second time in the history of the college we closed admissions in early June,” she said. However, even though BMCC’s popularity has increased, that doesn’t mean the caliber and quality of the education has decreased.

“We’ll provide you with a great learning experience both inside and outside the classroom” said Dr. Erwin Wong, Dean of Academic Affairs. “You can do as well as any other student after you graduate from BMCC and pursue a higher education."

Be yourself

After a video montage was shown on-screen of BMCC President Antonio Pérez interacting with students and faculty, Pérez took to the stage and introduced himself to the audience. He told them that he grew up in Spanish Harlem and started his own education at a community college.

“BMCC is committed to each and every one of you,” he said. “This is not just any college. We have more than 23 thousand students, and you may not think it whenever you’re waiting in line, but we see each of you as an individual.”

After Dr. Craig reminded students they need to continue the registration process on another day, Student Government Association (SGA) President John Marshall encouraged new students to get involved at BMCC, and even consider joining SGA.

“Joining clubs is good for job-building skills and your career, and gives you a chance to network with other students,” he said. “Remember that SGA members have been elected to take care of your needs and we put the needs of others first."

A visit from a TV personality

The New Student Assembly’s Keynote Speaker was WPIX Weekend Sports Anchor Lolita Lopez. A Harvard University graduate, Lopez talked about her love of both sports and learning—she played volleyball and ran track during her college years.

Lopez said that even as a young child in Texas, she would walk around her house pretending to be a news reporter, and “interview” members of her family. Little did she know that practice would eventually pay off, as she started off as a general assignment reporter at small television stations eventually working her way up to Weekend Sports Anchor.

She told students to cultivate their interests the way she did.

“I was on a field reporting yesterday and I mentioned something about sports marketing in China,” she said. When a colleague asked how she knew that random fact, she replied, “I don’t know, I learned it somewhere…”

“It was hidden somewhere in my head under my curly hair,” she told the BMCC students, smiling, showing them they should be proud of their hobbies, because in the job world, they never know how it may benefit them.

Cultivating hobbies

Lopez mentioned she had a childhood friend who would make offbeat make video clips using VHS tapes in the 90s. “This was before YouTube and Facebook,” she said. “He now edits video content for MTV. And another friend of mine who always loved to draw is now a very successful New York City graphic designer.”

Her point? Never be embarrassed by your hobby, and try to learn something from every situation.

“I went from Puerto Rico to Texas to Boston,” she told the students of her home country, hometown and city she resided in for college. “Part of growth is learning from your experiences, even if it’s from borough to borough.”

Lopez said she could relate to times when students may meet someone completely different from them, or struggle with school on various levels. She encouraged students to bring their own life experiences into “everything—even if you’re reading a Charles Dickens novel. You may have more in common with the main character—or classmate, or professor—than you thought.”



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  • President Pérez tells incoming students they are ‘individuals.’
  • Students encouraged to join clubs and SGA.

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