On the Job with Dani Crivello-Chang
Dani Crivello-Chang is the Dean of Campus Life at Green River Community College.
Does your community college have residence halls? If not, how do you cater to a commuter population?
We do have residence halls on campus, with 344 beds total.
Much research shows community colleges as being as diverse, if not more than, four-year institutions. What has been your experience?
We are 100% open door, open access, so we serve students from incredibly diverse backgrounds and experiences. With students as young as 16 years old walking across our commencement stage with people over 70 all getting their GEDs. You can’t imagine the beauty of the diversity on a community college campus. Although we have specific areas of focus—for us that would be transfer students, robust trades offerings, and worker retraining—we have lifelong learners, “running start” students, international students, refugee and immigrant populations, older returning students, single childcare givers, and athletes, all of who robustly make up the fabric and family here.
Many community college students need evening, weekend, and online courses. Does student life at your community college help facilitate students in those types of schedules?
We recognize and value the core mission of the community college as an open access institution, which means 8-to-5 isn’t the only way to go. Many classes are taught in the evening, online, on weekends, and at branch campuses, so we recognize the varying needs of our community and students. With that, we also have wrap around services to help support our students that include extended evening hours in our career and advising center, testing center, cafeteria, and bookstore. We also recognize the importance of having cocurricular educational opportunities for evening, weekend, and online students.
What is most unique about student life/the student union at your institution?
That’s a tough one to narrow down. That said, I will have to say it’s the intersectionality and the intergenerational interactions and learning that happens on a deep level at a community college campus. It’s not often that you will see a 16-year-old student from another country working on a group project with a 46-year-old who is coming back to school after being laid off from a job they worked for over 20 years. It’s rare that students have the chance to engage in deep and meaningful dialogue on issues of race, gender, equity, and inclusion that happens in classrooms, in club meetings, in event planning, or in a café.