KeAndre Berry, Communication Studies major and Multimedia Journalism student, interviews his friend and dormmate at Sierra College, Emmanuel Dudley, Engineering major, on learning about COVID-19. 1-minute audio track. His written story follows below.
The above 13-minute video features an interview with Dr. Reyes Ortega about his work with the Puente program at Sierra College and his legacy as he enters into retirement. After the interview in the video, two former students share personal tributes. In the written article below, other former students pay tribute to their transformative teacher and offer advice to future students.
It’s 11:00 a.m. on Monday, and I’ve been sitting in the Sierra College cafeteria with my friend Lindsey since 9:30 a.m. When we first entered the cafeteria, it was dimly lit and the smell of bacon permeated the air. To our right there were students lined up to pay for breakfast as we scanned the area for an open table to sit at. It was mostly vacant, and we began walking by the grey square tables looking for the one that had the least amount of food on it. It was fairly quiet, except for a loud group that had pushed two tables together and must have discovered the key to being fully awake on a Monday morning. As time goes by more people come in and the noise begins to increase, as singular voices turn into a woven tapestry of words and constant noise.
“I don’t want a single one of you to leave here tonight thinking you’ve done anything other than kick some serious butt this semester,” laughed Alex Zenner, the president of Roundhouse News and Review. She addressed the attentive crowd of 40 family, friends and local supporters gathered to celebrate the launch of Sierra College’s latest online intercultural news publication. “Tonight, we shared in ideas of what Roundhouse can become – a place for community, a place for voices of all kinds. I couldn’t be more proud of us.” Students on the founding editorial team shared knowing smiles, understanding our term developing Roundhouse, a collective brainchild, was coming to close.
“Yet, this is just the beginning,” I thought, gazing at the crowd. “Roundhouse is public now. The site doesn’t belong to just us anymore. It’s for everyone.” As Roundhouse’s Community Engagement and Communications Director, I connected the editorial team and the public through graphic design, in-person meetings, food and email. In short, my job was to listen to the stories, interests and values of Sierra community members.
Every morning, Haruka Ogawa would wake up to the sight of string lights above her dorm room bed, an experience so uniquely American for her. As she stepped out into the cold air to get ready for her day, her eyes would catch the memories of her old life hanging on the walls — a group photograph of her dance team, or a snapshot of her graduation ceremony from her high school back in Japan.
Just a few months prior, Ogawa was living in a suburban city outside of Tokyo, visiting the bustling metropolis each weekend with her friends. She was used to the colors, the sights, and the sounds of the place she grew up. Now she was walking through a campus of unfamiliar trees and faces, in a country where everyone spoke an unfamiliar tongue.