Crews lend a hand to help clean the school grounds

Student Charis Li, 20, right, and newly-elected Chancellor Arthur Tyler, middle, along with students, faculty and administrators clean and pick up trash during the “Day On” event on Ocean campus Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/The Guardsman
Student Charis Li, 20, right, and newly-elected Chancellor Arthur Tyler, middle, along with students, faculty and administrators clean and pick up trash during the “Day On” event on Ocean campus Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/The Guardsman

By Tim Maguire

Undeterred by morning fog and the early November chill, students, faculty and staff sipped coffee and teamed up to use their Saturday to clean Ocean campus for the second “Day On” event this year.

Six teams picked up and sorted trash, washed windows and pulled weeds around Conlan Hall, Cloud Circle, the Visual Arts building and the football field.

“This is something in our control we can do, working as a community for solutions. Our goal is to keep the school open,” Lulu Matute of the We Are CCSF alliance and Students Making a Change said.

The alliance planned the event, in conjunction with Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Coleman Advocates.

“We need more staff badly to cover the 2 million square feet of City College campuses,” Superintendent of Building and Grounds Scott Cline, whose staff has been cut by 50 percent, said. “Tackling these tasks frees up the maintenance people to do what they need to do. Anything helps. We only have one electrician for 11 campuses and four gardeners.”

Cline said his department has lost $9 million in state funds due to the 15 percent drop in enrollment this semester.

“To get the word out that City College is still open is huge to get more funds from enrollment,” Cline said. “We can’t work overtime because there’s no money in the budget.”

The accrediting commission listed campus maintenance as an area that City College needs to improve.

Newly elected City College Chancellor Arthur Tyler made an appearance, donning work gloves and picking up trash with the teams.

“We’re here because we want to remain open for the community,” Tyler said. “City College will be here for decades, if not centuries, to come.”

If City College closes, many students and faculty are worried that non-credit and lifelong learning courses like ESL, citizenship classes, and job skills training will be cut.

“Without the college our community won’t have opportunities to grow. Poor and underprivileged students will be affected the most,” math teacher Bie Tan, who has taught at City College for 32 years, said.

“They (accrediting commission) emphasize certain subjects are more important and forget the rest,” Tan said. “We need all classes for the community. The payback is in the future. Kids see mom and dad doing homework, that gets passed down. You can’t put a dollar and cents figure on that.”

Norland Obillo, a recent Filipino immigrant, said “Day On” is important “to show how much we care and have a sense of pride.”  He hopes to transfer to San Francisco State or San Jose State to pursue engineering.

The cleanup teams saw first hand how trash not thrown where it belongs can accumulate and reflect poorly on the school.

“The world isn’t your ashtray,” Linda Mickelson, who teaches child development for non-credit, said.  “I’m just amazed at the amount of cigarette butts.”

Tim Harper, SEIU 1021 member and part-time recycling and food service worker, hopes events like these will get students to be more mindful of putting their trash where it belongs.

“It’s hard on us. If everyone does what they can to help, it makes the school better, and really the whole world,” Harper said.

The next Day On is scheduled for Nov. 27 at 10 a.m.

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