The Secret Life of Campus

Posted on 29 September 2016 by admin

A Weekend at Meramec

spotlightBy: Marie Schwarz

Managing Editor

Meramec does not provide a lot of credit classes during the weekend according to the class schedule,
however, continued education classes, an open library, an open computer lab and sport games are just some incentives why the Meramec student should not only focus on being on campus during the week.

Credit classes
Layan Almasalmeh is a full-time student at Meramec who takes a math class that is offered on Saturday mornings this semester. “My brother and my sister go to UMSL and we only have one car for the three of us,” Almasalmeh said. “It didn’t work for them to be here [Meramec] for one hour [several times during the week], so we just put the three hours [of the math class] on a Saturday.”

Bound by circumstances, Almasalmeh, who also takes three English classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, takes the weekend math class, but prefers to be on campus during the week. “On the weekend it just feels like you’re the only person [on campus] on a school day,” Almasalmeh said.

Student Luna Spring takes a chemistry class on Saturdays this semester. “I’m very busy during the week, and my sister is in high school and she’s taking this class with me,” Spring said. “So since she is in school all day during the week, weekends are easier for both of us.”

Lacie Williams is a general transfer student with emphasis in English, and she is taking a fitness class this semester. Because she couldn’t cram it into her weekday schedule, she is taking the class on Saturday mornings.

“[The weekend] is pretty desolate, but it’s nice really,” Williams said. “You don’t have to elbow your way through any traffic to get to class and you just walk easily across campus. It would certainly be strange if it would be like this all the time, but it’s a nice change.”

One obstacle with a weekend class Williams said she could imagine is that it only takes place once a week, and therefore the attendance each week is much more important than a class that meets three times a week for an hour, for example. “I had a trip planned on one of the weekends during this semester before I had sort of laid out my schedule for the semester,” Williams said. “I began to panic when I read
the syllabus. I really didn’t want to fail or have to withdraw [from the class].”

Ultimately Williams said she was able to arrange something with the instructor, so she will be going on her trip without failing the class. Williams prefers classes during the week compared to the weekend, but if compared with online classes, she said she prefers the weekend classes. “I’m thankful for just the flexibility of the classes offered here and the competency of the professors, and I have just had a good
experience so far,” Williams said.

Continued education classes
According to the Meramec class schedule, there are not many credit classes offered on the weekend, which gives room for continued education classes to be scheduled on the weekend.

Lacey Kirkwood teaches two metalsmithing classes on Saturdays. Both are eightweek continued  education classes. The classes take place on the weekend because there is not enough space during the week to run a continued education class, Kirkwood said. “Continuing education is an amazing  opportunity for people to learn wonderful new skills,” Kirkwood said. “Metalsmithing is a thing that most people don’t even realize is an activity or skill that you can learn. I encourage everybody to reach out with continuing education … Get out there, and try something new.”

Nine people signed up for Kirkwood’s metalsmithing beginner’s class. One of Kirkwood’s students is Debbie Gaines. “I’ve always wanted to learn how to do jewelry,” Gaines said. “Like not just the cheap craft store jewelry but real jewelry that will last. I saw the listing in the course offerings and I thought, here is my chance.”

Kirkwood said that she would love to see this class turn into a full class during this semester.

Continuing education instructor Gerry Jasper taught a four-hour class on Saturday Sept. 17, with the title Guidance and Discipline of Children. Jasper said that 13 people signed up for the class. “Child care providers need their training hours and they can’t always make it during the week, [because] parents pick up their kids late and stuff,” Jasper said.

Continuing education classes are not the same kind of classes as classes taken for credit, Jasper said. However, nurses, real estate people and childcare providers all need continuing education hours.

Breanna Garmer took Jasper’s Guidance and Discipline class for the daycare she is working in.
“[I’m taking this class] because I wanted to, but also had to,” Garmer said. “This is a class that I needed to learn more [about] how to discipline young children and all that because I’m still not quite there yet.”

Garmer usually has to work on the weekend and said attending this class on a Saturday was not a sacrifice for her. “I have to get up early anyway, so it was just like a normal day for me” she said.

Retired couple Mike and Pat Whitworth took a continuing education class about gardening on Saturday, Sept. 17. “My wife and I, we garden some, and we’re trying to learn how to do it right,” Mike Whitworth said. “And so we’ve been taking classes here [at Meramec].”

Pat Whitworth, who just retired from Meramec’s English department as a secretary, has been wanting to take a garden class for years. “Now it’s time to do all the things I wanted to do,” Pat Whitworth said.
The library is not only open Monday through Fridays, but also on the weekend. This semester the library’s hours for Saturday are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Senior manager of instructional resources Patrick Mallory at the Meramec campus said that over the years the hours of the library have fluctuated. “We thought we would try to do something different this year and see what the response would be to being open later in the evenings on Sundays,” Mallory said.
Sunday nights is a day for students to prepare for the coming school week, Mallory said. “When we made our changes this year we had a lot of conversations with the people that worked here about what would be the best recipe [plan] to try to help our students.”

Sam Phillips, a student library assistant, said she works at the library on the weekend because she enjoys her job. “I enjoy the people that come in and we get quite a few regulars [that come in during the weekend] that I’m becoming friends with.”

Between 10 and 20 people are coming in each weekend, Phillips said. “We get maybe more people on Sunday because [students] are freaking out and try to get ready for the week,” Phillips said.

Library Clerk Robert Gipson said he likes to work at the library on the weekend. “In the morning [during the week] it is a beehive … and it’s intense,” Gipson said. “There is a lot of motion. It is an entirely
different place on the weekend. It’s more quiet.”

Not only Meramec students visit the library on the weekend, Gipson said. The “Kirkwood crowd,” as Gipson refers to them, like to take advantage of the library as well. “It used to be that many of the people
from Kirkwood would come in on the weekend,” Gipson said. “And it’s kind of a nice thing because they pay taxes [and therefore] support community college. It gives them an opportunity to take part in their tax dollars. I like that.”

Reference Librarian Bobbie Ohmer works at the library Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but also on Saturdays. She said she likes both working during the week but also on weekends. “You’re busier during the week, so sometimes you’re more engaged one on one with students,” Ohmer said. “If I have a project
that I need to do, I have more time to focus [on] it on the weekend. [It also] gives me time to devote more time to an individual person if they come in [on the weekend].”

Student Cathleen George is not a weekend student. However, she said she loves the library, especially on the weekend. “I love the way it is set up and especially on the weekends, when it’s quieter,” George
said. “There’s a lot less people. During the week it just gets — even though it’s a library and it’s supposed to be quiet — there’s so many people in here, it’s kind of noisy.”

Freshman Isabelle Bellinger-Espey who is working toward a career in professional writing and journalism after getting her general’s out of the way, likes to study at the library on the weekend.
“I like to stay ahead in class … and using the library resources that really help[s] me out a lot,” Bellinger-Espey said. “I feel like the library setting helps me focusing on studying.”
Academic Support
Though the library is open, Academic Support, which is located on the second floor of the library, is closed during the weekend. Acting manager of Academic Support Cynthia Clausen said that there hasn’t been much response to weekend hours of Academic Support. The department is more interested in lengthening their hours during the week from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and focusing on online support rather than physical presence on the weekend.

Harriet Clark, a college writing specialist at the writing center, said that the writing center is currently not offering hours during the weekend due to a tight budget. “[The writing center’s] schedule is set so
that we have the most tutors when we have the most students, and I think the weekend was just not busy enough to have weekend hours,” Clark said.

Computer Lab
The computer lab also has hours on the weekend. Student Jeannette Hegger is taking Computer
Arts Studio this semester and spent one of her Saturday mornings and afternoons working on a project in the computer lab. “This is a rare case [that I’m here on the weekend],” Hegger said. “I had a project I
needed to finish because it’s due on Monday.”
Sport Games
Archers teams play on weekends at Meramec as well. On Saturday, Sept. 17, Meramec’s volleyball team played three other teams at Meramec. Geoffrey Davis, who is head coach of the women’s volleyball team, said that this was the second weekend of play this season.  “We typically have matches on the weekend,”
Davis said. “We try to do 2 to 3 matches on the weekend, primarily because of the school schedule.”
Campus Police
Police Chief Anthony Russo wrote in an email that for the campus police, the weekend is like any other day of the week, and that they patrol on foot and in cars 24/7. “Our officers are very serious about safety,” wrote Russo. “[We] conduct numerous patrols throughout the campus and adjacent parking lots every day, regardless of what day it is.”


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