By Ekevara Kitpowsong
The Enrollment Campaign, a volunteer group of City College faculty and students, has been trying to turn around the drop in enrollment that has occurred due to the accreditation crisis the college is facing.
Approximately 80 volunteer faculty, students and community members have gone out to the neighborhoods to help boost enrollment.
The majority of the campaign members distribute time schedules, program guides, posters and brochures. They pass the materials out to people on the street and post fliers in small businesses such as libraries, cafés, bookstores, laundromats, nail salons and barber shops.
“It’s about 550 places that we have been sending people to, and many of those places get more than one visit,” English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor Susan Lopez said. “At the end of this summer we could potentially reach 100,000 people out in the public. We are raising awareness that City College is out there. We are active.”
The campaign was formed in summer 2013, when concerned faculty noticed boxes of class schedules sitting on the first floor of Cloud Hall. The faculty responded by distributing them to San Francisco neighborhoods themselves.
The five volunteer staff members are City College instructors Lopez, Leslie Simon, Danny Halford, Mary Amsler and Ann MacAndrew. The five take turns working in their operations office every Saturday at the Mission center.
The only cost to City College is making copies of fliers. Some faculty also raise money for the posters.
The marketing and recruiting campaign is based on two approaches. The first is to reach out to students who are already taking classes. The second is to reach underserved communities by accessing local agencies to reach out to their clients.
“If we leave the materials with them, they can use those materials and work with their clients,” Lopez said. “We go to Glide (Memorial Church), we go to the LGBT center on Market Street, because we also feel the importance to reach out to the gay community, Mission Cultural Center and also at the (San Francisco government) Sunday Streets event.”
The materials have been distributed to over a dozen neighborhoods, but the campaign focuses mainly on areas such as the Bayview, Portola/Visitacion Valley, Mission District, Tenderloin, North of Market, the Castro, South of Market and Excelsior/Ingleside.
“Every place I go, I drop off fliers,” Maria Magdalena, a Computer Networking and Information Technology student and dedicated campaign volunteer, said. “I explained to people what we were doing. My responsibility is to get the word out that City College is still being enrolled into. People think the school is closing.”
Lopez said the campaign has helped the college to increase enrollment.
“We’re able to support non-credit students all throughout the year, and bring people in even during the weeks when normally not many students enroll,” she said.
Elgy Gillespie, a current ESL instructor and active volunteer, made multilingual fliers with the help of Project Shine, a volunteer program. They translated the fliers into Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish, and distributed them to Visitacion Valley, Portola and the Bayview. Gillespie sees more students showing up to her class at the Southeast center.
“People walk in. Last semester, every night, two or three new people came in. It was remarkable,” Gillespie said.
To volunteer send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Enrollment Campaign office at the Mission center Room 261 every Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.