student life

Parent Support President and Student Michel Cocuzza and PSG Club Advisor Ann Reynolds stand in front of tables of donations gathered in the North Café at Mount Wachusett Community College Monday.

Parent Support Group President and Student Michel Cocuzza and PSG member Angela Celley stand in front of tables of donations gathered in the North Café at Mount Wachusett Community College Monday.

The second annual Holiday Toy Drive organized by the Parent Support Group at Mount Wachusett Community College distributed presents to 52 families this week.

The toy drive was hosted by MWCC’s Parent Support Group that collected donations since Dec. 1 from faculty, staff, and students. According to PSG President and MWCC Student Michel Cocuzza, the donations came flying in and quickly filled two storage rooms. The gently used or new toys, books, games, and holiday decorations were then distributed on Dec. 19 and 20 to families within the MWCC community.

“I am so pleased to see students helping students, especially in the middle of finals and the holidays,” said MWCC President Dr. Daniel M. Asquino. “This is just one example of the generous spirit of support that students, faculty, and staff at Mount Wachusett Community College share every day.”

These donations can be a huge help during the holidays, according to Cocuzza, especially to student parents.

“Being a student parent is a difficult task. Most of us go to school full time and struggle financially,” Cocuzza said. “With the help of PSG and our advisor, we were able to assist 52 families.”

PSG Club Advisor Ann Reynolds said that it was the hard work of the PSG team that made the event possible.

“It would be remiss of me to not give a shout-out to Michel and all our dedicated PSG members for their hard work on making this event such a success,” Reynolds said. “We hope the Toy Drive will be a MWCC tradition.”

Mount Wachusett Community College student and Worcester resident Jasson Alvarado Gomez was a featured speaker to nearly 300 high school seniors from North, Burncoat, and Doherty High Schools in Worcester on Wednesday October 12 at the Department of Higher Education’s GO HIGHER! event, a partnership with Massachusetts’ 29 public colleges and universities to raise awareness of the growing number of outstanding programs and opportunities available to students at our community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses.

Alvarado Gomez, an aspiring filmmaker studying Media Arts & Technology at MWCC, participated in a student-to-student panel discussion about choosing a college and a major, navigating campus life, and the challenges that undocumented students face. Alvarado Gomez impressed upon students that “there are plenty of financial and support services available to all students in the community college system. You just have to ask.”

At MWCC, Alvarado Gomez has served on the Student Government Association, as president of the ALANA Club, and on the Campus Activities Team for Students and SAGA organizations. He has served as a student ambassador and a volunteer for the United Way Day of Caring and the SGA annual food drive, and is a recipient of the Gateway Community Service Award. He is also an appointed member to the college’s Board of Trustees, following a spring election by his peers. Earlier this fall, the Worcester resident was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education as a full voting member representing all students attending the state’s 29 colleges and universities. Upon graduating from MWCC, Alvarado Gomez plans to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a Bachelor’s degree and begin a career in media arts.

According to Mount Wachusett Community College Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management, Marcia Rosbury-Henne, the GO HIGHER! events celebrate the academic excellence and affordability of not only MWCC, but all public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth. “The financial advantages of attending a community colleges are often more obvious than the academic and social advantages,” according to Rosbury-Henne. “The GO HIGHER! events offer high school students an opportunity to hear firsthand from community college graduates that have transferred.” Rosbury-Henne continued, “And the student speakers today spoke of how their college experience has been enriched by attending two different institutions, as they experience two student bodies, two campuses, and for some even two different geographic regions in the Commonwealth.”

Immediately following the student panel session, all Worcester high school students in attendance had the opportunity to meet Mount Wachusett Community College faculty and staff at a college fair in the North High gymnasium to learn more about academic program offerings, the admission process and financial aid at the Commonwealth’s community colleges.

The office of Student Life and the Campus Activities Team for Students (CATS) will host the annual Spring Semester Welcome Activities Fair on Thursday, January 29 in the South Cafe. The event includes free airbrush winter hats, personalized name posters and Mardi Gras mask making from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and a Student Club and Information Expo from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.


Scary Karaoke

September 30, 2014

MWCC’s annual Scary Karaoke competition, sponsored by CATS and the Student Life Office, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the North Café. Come join in on the spooky fun! There will be snacks, a $100 cash door prize every hour and cash prizes ($100, $70, $30) for the best costumes.

MWCC’s Fall 2014 Film Series, presented by Student Life, begins with “In the Time of Butterflies” on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 12:30 p.m. in the Gardner campus’ North Café. “In the Time of Butterflies” presents a fictionalized account of the lives of the Mirabal sisters, Dominican revolutionary activists who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.  The Mariano-Barroso-directed film is based on the Julia Alvarez book of the same name and was produced for Showtime Networks in 2001. The film series will continue on Tuesday, Oct. 7 with “Into the Wild.”

Mardi Gras Carnival

February 19, 2014

The Student Life office and CATS will sponsor the annual Mardi Gras Carnival on Thursday, Feb. 27  from 6 to 10 p.m. is the South Cafe. The carnival will feature karaoke from 6 to 8 p.m. and dancing from 8 to 10 p.m. Costume prizes of $100, $70 and $30 will be awarded and a door prize of $100 will be awarded hourly. Snacks and beverages will be provided. Admission is free for MWCC students, faculty and staff and a guest.


Winterfest Fair

November 5, 2013

The annual Winterfest Fair will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4 and Thursday, Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Commons. The fair will feature raffles of decorated wreaths and theme baskets to benefit the MWCC Foundation student scholarships. There will be a variety of vendors selling items from children’s books to pashmina scarves. Sponsored by the Student Life office and Student Services.

MWCC has received a four-year, $317,388 federal grant to continue its Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which provide childcare subsidies and other support services to eligible students.

The grant, part of $9.2 million allocated in September by the U.S. Department of Education, was awarded to 58 postsecondary institutions in 28 states to establish or support campus-based child care services.

The grant program assists students with reliable child care needs so they can remain focused on their studies, said MWCC CCAMPIS Coordinator Deirdre Moran said. Established at MWCC in 2009, it is the only CCAMPIS program funded in Massachusetts.

“Child care costs are approaching $200 a week for many parents and CCAMPIS can help with those expenses. That’s a huge savings for our students,” Moran said.

The CCAMPIS program at MWCC provides childcare subsidies to eligible students who are enrolled part-time or full-time at MWCC’s Gardner, Leominster or Devens campuses. Participating students can select from more than 100 pre-approved childcare providers, all of which fall within a 15-mile radius of one of the three campuses. Other services provided to participants include academic advising, regular monitoring of academic progress, career counseling, employment information, and referrals to community support services.

Awards can be used for child care services for all age groups: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, as well as before and after-school care for school-age children. Students eligible to receive services for their children through CCAMPIS must be eligible for Pell grants, which are awarded based on financial need.

MWCC is hosting a Party Smart Mocktails and Fatal Vision Program on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the South Cafeteria. Part of MWCC’s Alcohol and Drug Awareness week, purchase a full-sized beverage and receive a free glass goblet, and a free texting and driving finger ring (while supplies last). Proceeds to benefit the SGA Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. Sponsored by CATS, Student Life Office, Health Services, and the MWCC Office of Public Safety and Security.

Scary Karaoke

October 17, 2013

MWCC’s annual Scary Karaoke competition, sponsored by CATS and the Student Life Office, will take place on Thursday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the North Café.  Come join in on the spooky fun!  There will be snacks, $100 cash door prize every hour and cash prizes ($100, $70, $30) for the best costumes.