By Kayla Tucker – Editor-in-Chief
Thursday’s turnout doubled at the biweekly Student Alliance meeting, which featured Grand Rapids Community College President Steven Ender.
When Ender opened the floor to questions , students immediately began asking about the potential graduation requirement changes proposed by the Academic Governing Council.
GRCC student Joseph Hileski, 33, was the first to ask Ender about the possibility of taking away the wellness course requirement.
“We have been looking at our curriculum core, and the requirements of the institutions that the bulk of (students) transfer to,” Ender said.
Out of the popular transfer institutions, only two don’t require a wellness credit, Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University.
When Hileski said that most students will not take the course if it is not required, Ender said, “shame on them.”
“Sure, wellness is pretty important, but my goodness gracious you are all 18 (and up),” Ender said.
Ender brought up the potential elimination of requirement of the Survey of American Government course requirement.
“Unless things have changed dramatically since I went to high school, I think they still teach American government in high school,” Ender said.
GRCC student Eric Vanderstei, 59, a non-traditional returning student, brought the perspective of an older student looking back and wishing he knew more about wellness when he was younger.
“You can’t tell what you need 40 years from now,” Vanderstei said. “A healthy lifestyle, you do need for your whole life. And if you learn that now and you carry it on, you won’t have diabetes Type II and all the things that fight people who are my age … I think it’s the leadership of the college that should be deciding what’s healthy, or what’s an important thing for young people to know to carry for the rest of their life.”
Ender’s answer was short.
“These issues around this curriculum are best decided by the academic governing council of this institution,” Ender said.
Ender said even though the council will make the decision, students can weigh in at any time. He gave students the option to write a letter to the AGC.
When asked if students could ever be a part of the AGC, he said he couldn’t imagine.
“I do not want to be condescending in my remarks,” Ender said. “It took me a while to get to this place in my own head. There is some wisdom that comes with age and experience and some wisdom that comes from individuals that have made it their lifelong pursuit, in our case, to be involved in higher education, and I think their collective wisdom to make curriculum is stronger than mine or students that will come through that door.”