Dozens of Brookdale students and faculty signed their names to the same banner in the Student Life Center on Oct. 28, kicking off this year’s “Signing Week” with a pledge of solidarity.
The event was hosted by Alpha Phi Theta, the Brookdale chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) national honor society, to encourage students to “Commit to Complete” and pledge that they will earn a degree or certificate at Brookdale before transferring or entering the workforce. Faculty members were encouraged to assist at least one student on the road to graduation.
The annual drive is part of the statewide New Jersey Phi Theta Kappa Community College Completion Challenge (NJC4), sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ Center for Student Success.
During the event, students and faculty were offered information about the benefits of a community college degree and encouraged to sign pledge cards and a large NJC4 banner. PTK Vice President Nicholas Sakowski said the pledge provides students with more incentive to graduate, and encourages them to set their sights even higher.
“Students who earn a degree are more likely to transfer to a four-year school, obtain a high-paying career and open doors for their future children,” Sakowski said. “I feel that when people value their education and set a goal early on, they are less likely to settle for less.”
Chemistry Professor Shahin Pirzad agreed, adding that it is just as vital for faculty to sign their names as well.
“Students really listen to their teachers,” said Pirzad, who serves as PTK faculty advisor along with associate English Professor Angela Saragusa. “So it makes a big difference when the faculty get involved in something like this.”
In addition to the pledge cards, members of PTK also handed out C4 buttons, pens and a sheet listing the top ten benefits of a community college degree. Those benefits include a significant increase in earning potential, with associate degree holders making an average of $500,000 more in their lifetimes.
Unemployment rates are also about 30 percent lower for community college graduates, according to PTK, and degree holders are more likely to transfer and graduate from a four-year school.
“It has always been my plan to graduate and then transfer,” said first-year student Floyd Nesse, one of many to sign a pledge during the event. “This way, no matter what happens, I will always have that degree.”
PTK will also host a seminar on the transfer process, scholarships, CollegeFish and other topics on Thursday, Oct. 30, at 11:45 a.m. in MAN 100. Click here for more information.
More information on NJC4 is available at the Community College Completion Corps website.
Click here for more photos of the “Commit to Complete” event.