Hudson County Community College Engages Students in All Levels of Reform Work

Eight Students Attend DREAM 2020 as Part of HCCC Team

When Suri Hidalgo, a Criminal Justice major at Hudson County Community College (HCCC), was approached by Heather DeVries, Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Academic Assessment, about attending DREAM 2020, she was initially taken aback. “I never imagined I would ever be invited to a conference like this to help improve higher education,” shared Hidalgo. Crystal Newton, a Business Administration major, expressed her gratitude to HCCC in asking students to participate at an institution wide level. “I was impressed because they wanted student feedback rather than the college telling students what they want.” The invitations to Hidalgo, Newton, and six of their classmates, while perhaps a surprise, were perfectly in line with Hudson County Community College’s commitment to engage its students in every step of their student success work. 

At DREAM, Newton, a Business Administration major, was inspired to see so many college administration and faculty together in one place with a singular commitment. “It’s inspiring to see administrators focused on getting students through, not just in the doors,” shared Newton. Hidalgo shared a sense of increased motivation knowing that so many institutions were working to improve opportunity for students of color. “It motivates me to be a resource for fellow students,” Hidalgo expressed. “As a ‘Leader in Life’ student, the diversity and inclusion here in impressive. It is not just a headcount of people, it’s about the people themselves. Each student has their own individual story.” Suri Hidalgo, Husdon County Community College 

Eight Hudson County Community College students serve on the institution’s “Dream Team”. They attend committee meetings with staff and faculty, and help message to their fellow students about HCCC’s work with Achieving the Dream. “Through DREAM 2020, we took a cue from the DREAM Scholars for the students to be our engine to explain ATD and the framework, and why this work and community colleges matter,” shared DeVries. In early March, shortly after DREAM 2020, two HCCC students were invited to speak to the college’s Board of Trustees. The students shared their sense of excitement at being engaged in the convening, and when asked for one word or phrase to describe their experience at HCCC, the students used the words ‘home’ to describe the institution and ‘family’ to describe the institutions faculty and staff.

“For me the best part of the entire experience was seeing all of those people in one place to ensure that I and all the people like me attending community college has the best experience possible,” explained HCCC English Major Koral Booth in summarizing DREAM 2020. Booth’s impression from DREAM 2020 is certainly one that has been fostered on campus at Hudson County Community College, with a culture of deep student engagement embedded in the college’s work with Achieving the Dream.

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