At the start of each semester, the Office of Student Life, under the leadership of Patricia Martin-Mattocks and with the help of club advisers make a remarkable effort to enhance the student learning experience by programming activities, service projects and club opportunities to the student body of the Medical Education Campus (MEC).
Already at mid-semester, feelings vary among the MEC students. For Michael Cabrera, a second-year nursing student and Phi Theta Kappa member said, “It was very difficult to balance course load and activities on campus, but I enjoyed being an active student on campus.” For Sindy Lazo, a first-year dental hygiene student and also a federal work-study student, this time proved to be very stressful due to the nature of the strong curriculum she is required to take.
MEC Student Life programming through the semester had a direct, meaningful and fairly immediate positive impact in the students’ current lives and pursuits, and it presented students with great opportunities to catch up with colleagues, faculty and staff who they have little time to see during the semester. Programming also improved students’ interpersonal, intellectual and emotional development.
All the activities were well attended. January brought Get Fit Week, which was all about giving the semester a healthy start, learning about how wellness is related to what students want to do before graduating, finding motivation and inspiring others. Get Fit Week included giveaways and healthy snacks. Also, NOVA Day, the official welcome back to campus, was an opportunity for new and returning students to spend time getting to know each other, finding out their academic plans and learning more about student clubs, leadership programs and other services available to them. Students enjoyed food, music, giveaways and the chance to meet other students, faculty and staff.
February included Wear Your Red Day, Spirit Week activities, Mardi Gras Celebration, Happy Hearts activities, Wacky Wednesday and the Black History Month celebration. The highlight in February was the presentation of Alphonso Brown, a native of Rantowles, a rural community of Charleston, South Carolina. He spoke on the Gullah language and customs that still thrive today in and around Charleston.
In addition to the activities previously mentioned, MEC Student Life wrapped up a Career Fair and INOVA Blood Donation Drive during the first week in March. Student Life continues to help to create better leaders and plays a significant role in both student development and campus atmosphere.