Column: Thirty-five years of caring for the community

Megan Armstrong San Antonio News

Published 12:00 am CDT, Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Palo Alto College was first established in 1985 and was championed into existence by people who cared about creating a better future for the South Side of San Antonio. That culture of care has been ingrained in our campus culture from day one, and it continues today.

For over 35 years, we have positively impacted the lives of more than 150,000 students by way of obtaining a degree or certificate from Palo Alto College. Education itself can be a catalyst for social mobility, while caring for one another can make a greater impact on our society as a whole.

This is why our team of dedicated faculty and staff spend countless hours in helping our students achieve success. Demonstrating compassion and care has led to innovative solutions to better assist students both inside and outside the classroom. From the development of a one-on-one advising model to standing up one of the nation’s first full-service advocacy centers, students and our community are at the forefront of what we do.

Last fall, we decided to unify this collective effort by way of a “PAC Cares” team, which is comprised of faculty and staff working together to stimulate conversations and formalize actions to meet the needs of our students, employees and community. And although we have moved to full remote environment for teaching, learning, and working, our PAC Cares team continues to adopt strategies to engage with our beloved community across digital platforms, social media and video conferencing.

I am truly inspired by their work and that of the community. Day in and day out, we learn of all the amazing things that people of our community are doing to help one another during this unprecedented time. Grocers and retail stores are constantly adopting innovative solutions to continue providing services while implementing precautions to protect their employees and community members alike. Our healthcare workers are showcasing their dedication to the health and safety of our community by putting themselves on the front lines every day.

We have all been affected in different ways by this pandemic. We recognize that every person’s situation is unique, and caring for one another has never been more important.

As we move forward, I can assure you that Palo Alto College will continue to find ways to support students and the surrounding community, and we encourage you to do the same. You never know the difference you can make in a person’s life through a simple act of kindness.

Robert Garza, Ph.D., is president of Palo Alto College, part of the Alamo Colleges District.