I thought that I would share with you some of the big things that have occurred on campus during the past few weeks. It's amazing what a small band of committed souls can achieve when they put their minds (and backs) to it.
1. New Fitness Facility: we are in the final stages of Phase I of the renovations to our fitness facility. Thanks to a grant, we were able to construct a workout concept that is our first step on the path to creating a cutting edge health and wellness program at the PQC. When the entire health and wellness complex is completed, it will fill a critical need in the Southern Sector of Dallas. Our complex will be used to help fight childhood obesity and to study the effects of diet and exercise on chronically unhealthy population segments. While we are still in the early stages of this program, we are thrilled with our first step.
2. Ms. D Comes to the Cafeteria: our very own Ms. Evelyn Dickerson has taken over the operations in the food service department. While we are still fine-tuning a few things, the early poll numbers suggest that Ms. D has found a new career.
3. New Technology: Over the Christmas holidays we made the switch from analog and pbx based telephones to VOIP (voice over internet protocol). This will not only improve the reliability of our communications, it will also save us tens of thousands of dollars per year in long distance charges.
Additionally, almost 70% of the computer workstations on campus have been replaced with newer, more efficient technology.
4. New Heat Resistant Foliage: Visitors to the campus will notice that we have begun our heat resistant foliage study. In order to successfully complete this study, we are replacing much of the greenery on campus. The first grouping calls for planting shrubs along the fence-line of the campus. These shrubs will eventually grow to be eight feet tall and will completely transform the curb appeal of the college (if the foliage proves to be heat resistant).
5. The Adams Archives: During the 2009 Homecoming activities, we announced that we would be creating the Adams Archives at Paul Quinn College. This work is being chronicled at http://paulquinnarchives.blogspot.com. I hope you will check it regularly. It's great.
6. Security: We continue to press forward in creating a safe and comfortable campus environment. This semester, we have increased the procedures for visiting our campus. All individuals who enter the front gate must show identification and be cataloged. If you are a visitor, you must either be placed on a pre-clearance list ahead of your visit or the Quinnite you are coming to see will meet you at the gate. Additionally, we have stepped up our campus patrols and increased lighting throughout the campus.
7. SUB: We continue to make strides in freshening our Student Union Building. During the first three semesters of my presidency we've concentrated on the cafeteria (the new furniture and the mural have been big hits). Over the last three weeks we have turned our attention to the rest of the building (see item #1 for an example). It is in this vein that we have radically altered the appearance of the primary SUB hallway with new paint and lighting.
Another change in the SUB can be be found in the offices of the Student Affairs Team. They spent their holidays painting, pulling up carpet, pulling off wallpaper and generally creating a warmer and more nurturing environment for our students in the SA physical areas.
9. Athletics: Congratulations to our women's basketball team for winning both of their conference games in a resounding fashion this week. The two wins place them in a tie for first place in the Red River Conference. Keep up the great work!
10. Road Construction: Members of Austin Commercial spent a good bit of their holiday season re-grading the road that leads from the main campus to the students/staff apartments. This road, which had become hazardous to man and vehicle alike, is now the best surface on campus. Please join me in thanking Austin Commercial for providing this service pro bono.
11. Before I Go:
* I'd like to thank our wonderful corporate partner American Airlines for making it possible for 14 Quinnites to attend the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama in Washington DC. AA stepped into the gap and donated the tickets that are being used to enable our young Quinnites to partake in history.
* "Thank you" to the AVID program at Percy L. Julian High School in Chicago for hosting me this past week. Mrs. Gilbert-Mitchell runs a center that is an oasis in the heart of the Chicago frozen tundra. The AVID program contains some of the brightest young minds in the city and we are excited about the potential of our newly forged partnership.
* Happy Birthday to Quinnites Flora Webb and Jessica Byars. Both are celebrating their birthdays with parties this weekend. Jessica's is actually a fundraiser for PQC. It's being held at "The Apartment", located at 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 206. Doors open at 7pm this evening.
* Always remember the "Four Ls of Quinnite Leadership"(c):
1. Leave places better than you found them;
2. Lead from where you are;
3. Live a life that matters; and
4. Love something greater than yourself