Community Involvement

Professor Melissa Michelson and Professor Marianne Marar joined Gail Ortega, Community Advocate and former Menlo College SERV Director on Wednesday, January 19 at 5:30pm in the Dining Room to share ideas of how students can get more engaged in our community. The event was organized by Dean of Student Affairs Yasmin Lambie-Simpson to better understand the needs of the Menlo College community. The panel was made of former SERV Director Gail Ortega, Professor of Global Studies Marianne Marar and Professor of Political Science Melissa Michelson. The panel challenged students to become agents for change in their communities.

Gail Ortega recounted memories of student activism during his time at Menlo College and he encouraged students to reach out to the neighboring community in an attempt to build alliances.

Dr. Marar spoke about her work as a social justice activist for human rights and genocide recognition. Her upbringing as an Armenian-Jordanian woman compelled her to become an ally for the alleviation of global injustices. Her overall message was the importance of critical consciousness. She called on students to “be the people they have been waiting for.”

Global Consciousness for Social Change

“Student engagement goes hand in hand with academic capital,” said Dr. Marar. “The more our students become invested in activism, the better we are doing as educators. The link between Menlo College and contemporary global issues exists and it is critical to tap into our students and utilize their global consciousness for social change.”

Dr. Michelson began by talking about Dr. King's message and how they can ask “What are you doing for others?” She then asked students to voice the changes they would like to see on campus. At the end of the activity she put the responsibility back on the students and challenged them to create the changes they wished to see. Students also spoke out to their peers about on-campus clubs and organization that work for the greater good of the community.

“The students came up with a list of changes they'd like to see happen at Menlo, and several have since started turning those proposed changes into reality. It's wonderful to see students make those connections and take action to make positive change. I think they were inspired by Gail's words and by the energy in the room. I'm excited to see what else they will make happen in the coming weeks and months,” said Dr. Michelson.

View Photos from the Event