The Bulldog Life Program Provides Support for NC Students
November 29, 2021
Corsicana Daily Sun
by Mark Archibald
Numerous times during his tenure, Navarro College District President Dr. Kevin G. Fegan has said that the first responsibility of a community college is to serve the needs of that community. The college’s stated mission is to provide educational opportunities that empower students to achieve their personal, academic, and career goals and that promote life-long learning for all communities served.
Navarro College continues to prepare students to succeed in the classroom and compete in an evolving job market by seeking out partnerships with local businesses and industries while offering reskilling and upskilling opportunities for people looking to advance in the local workforce.
But Fegan and others realized those within Navarro College’s five county service area needed something more in order for the students to reach their highest possible potential.
“Those who face socioeconomic and other challenges are less likely to begin or continue their education,” said Fegan during an August 2020 meeting of the Navarro College Board of Trustees.
Navarro College Trustees were briefed on a similar concept currently in practice at Amarillo College. Efforts to provide further support to the college’s student body would become Bulldog Life. With the motto of “Learning, Living and Launching,” the program has already assisted hundreds of students.
“The Bulldog Life Program was approved prior to the pandemic, and was expected to launch in the fall of 2020, but the effort was accelerated as the effects of COVID-19 were recognized in the region,” said Stacie Sipes, Vice President of Communications and Marketing.
“Bulldog Life is a holistic program which combines academic support with other resources to assist students as they learn live and launch their lives in our community,” said Debbie Richardson, Culture of Caring Coordinator of Bulldog Life on the Corsicana Campus.
Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Meredith Bell the program’s director, took some Navarro College students on a trip to Selma, Alabama as part of United Christian Fellowship to witness history and broaden the experience of students who may not have otherwise had that opportunity.
“Navarro College has the greatest faculty and staff who truly care about our students. Bulldog Life is an extension of that and puts access to resources in a single location,” Richardson said.
The program’s offices are located within the Sanchez Library on the Corsicana Campus.
Every Navarro College campus has a “Bulldog Market” to assist those who are experiencing food insecurity.
“It’s a sort of a clearinghouse connecting those in need with a variety of social services both on campus and within the community,” Richardson said. “The beauty of this program is that we can respond to the needs of those we serve,” she said, praising the program's fluidity.
The full program is expected to expand to all Navarro College campuses in the future.
“This program is about helping form connections and giving the students tools to succeed. We help students navigate here and are advocates for the students we serve,” said Kraig Curry, Director of Bulldog Life and Trio Student Support Services. “Community support for Navarro College and the Bulldog Life program has been outstanding,” said Sipes, who related that several churches and community organizations provided blankets for those on campus during last February’s winter storm.
In addition to its social life improvement benefits, Bulldog Life also connects students with career opportunities.
“We go on trips to other universities, and provide assistance with resume writing and career prep workshops,” said Kevin Hanke, Coordinator of Career and Leadership Development.
During the holidays there are a few students who stay on campus when the college is closed for breaks. Bulldog Life and community partners provide meals for the handful of students who don’t have the opportunity to go home.
Those who would like to help provide meals for students who are staying on campus during the Christmas holiday can reach out to anyone at Bulldog Life at firstname.lastname@example.org or (903) 875-7737.
SOURCE: Corsicana Daily Sun