As I wondered how to choose the theme that I wanted use to mark my term as president of HSACCC, a common thread appeared in my thoughts. I saw that I was considering the many angles of “making connections ”. It started with noting the constellation of HSACCC health services directors’ initial foray into nursing. I imagine there was a draw to the connection between science and the human condition leading to the connection between one human being helping another through the art of nursing.
As we moved along that path we found our way into the service of California community college students and in that place joined HSACCC. At the end of a board retreat last year, I happen to be the one to have enough room in my office to store the carton of HSACCC historical documents and so I have them. I spend a recent evening going through them. Starting in 1974, our predecessors hammered out by-laws that eventually joined the northern and southern areas. They also spent a good deal of time in legislative advocacy. There is a subject paper entitled “Mental Health Guidelines for Community Colleges” written for the state legislature in 1979. Noting in part, “mental health is essential to the successful pursuit and attainment of educational goals…academic stress, critical career choices, economic pressures, difficult family relations, complex marital and alternative lifestyles, grief reactions and identity crises are common problems…..there are groups such as minorities, veterans, immigrants, disabled and re-entering students whose mental health is affected by special needs”. With a few edits, that could have been written this year! As I worked my way through that box I felt immense gratitude for those who came before us, not recognizing the names, but knowing the documents and philosophies we now use as our foundation stemmed from many working hours and thoughtful discussions. Always reminded that this is a volunteer organization! Making that connection to the past is important for me to know that we all stand on a solid foundation. That the knowledge that our historic mission and our current mission remain succinctly focused on the success of our student charges no matter the lofty arenas we may enter to do that.
As I created my term goals, a simple two with a short list of objectives each, I see that I have built them on connections. The first, to bolster the infrastructure of HSACCC, is a baton handed to me from Naomi Forey. We decided to link our goals to give more time to fulfill them. The area and regional structure of HSACCC is well framed and provides us all with tremendous support when fully engaged. There is less stress on each link when they are all in place. And conversely, there is immense benefit when connections can be the conduits for ideas, data collection from the annual survey, telling our story and more. Our dedication and collective knowledge is immense and I can only imagine what we could do when this is harnessed. One of my objectives for this goal is to “make connections” with many of our directors personally. While I enjoy the benefits and ease that e-connections afford, there is something about meeting in person and seeing our health centers that I believe makes for a richer understanding of our situations and needs. An idea well illustrated recently in a day spent at San Joaquin Delta College helping them as they work to create the first health services on that campus. The second goal I have is to explore one of our strongest original intents as an organization; that of legislative advocacy. I believe this is the place we will have the greatest impact for greatest number of our students. This involves a great deal of connection making! No good work is done in isolation. Working as a team with my colleagues, presenting to the Community College League of California, the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges, to the Foundation of California Community Colleges telling our story and continuing to tell our story to others is a part of “making connections” that is essential to building a platform for advocacy. I will outline my goals and objectives in more detail at our area meetings in October. Be sure to come! Northern October 14th at Cabrillo College; Southern October 28th at Santiago Canyon College.
And lastly, my most inspiring “making connections” moment occurred in this month of August when I was asked to speak to our student leaders of the Student Senate of California Community Colleges. I again told our story, which is really their story. They responded with insightful questions and the pledge of support for our mission to serve them. The connection and passion that we have for our student communities, one human being helping another with the art of nursing, was clear and fiercely set for me. As I saw this group of student leaders doing the work of understanding how to be the best advocates for their 2.1 million peers, I knew and know that I will work with the connections theme to create the most supportive health services possible for them. This is our work together as the Health Services Association of California Community Colleges.
With admiration and appreciation for all you do,
Laureen Campana NP MPH
HSACCC President 2016-2017