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WNC News and Notes: Student president recalls day that changed her focus

By Western Nevada College

It’s no surprise that Western Nevada College student government president Gabrielle Clark envisions helping others when she completes her college education.

After all, Clark has been doing that since becoming a member of the college’s student government group, the Associated Students of Western Nevada.

Those awe-inspiring plans to selflessly look out for others didn’t initially mesh with what was expected of her at ASWN.

“I came in with the mindset that I wanted to solve world hunger … really big-picture thinking,” she said.

Instead, she found herself creating posters to promote campus events.

“I felt like there was something more important than that. (Adviser) Heather Rikalo spoke up on that: ‘There is. There is. There is more to student government. You will solve world hunger.’”

With Rikalo, Clark has started her mission to solve “world hunger” by focusing on students in need at WNC. They were working on rolling out a food and hygiene pantry last spring right when COVID hit. She was inspired to create the pantry after seeing a student survey that indicated that many of her classmates weren’t eating enough or eating hardly at all.

“Initially, I was thinking about free transportation for students, but the student survey results were shockingly alarming,” she said. “It shapes the ideology of ASWN today and it gets students thinking that, ‘Oh, there is a need here for this school and I as a student have the power to change that or break the stigma that we all need help sometimes … break that stigma that students eat Top Ramen all the time.’ That’s what I’m hoping to change with this food pantry. Students can help one another.”

Clark didn’t begin her college education at WNC. She started at Western Washington but decided early on that smaller colleges offered more amenities than the large institutions.

“When you are at a bigger school, it’s harder to find your niche and you are paying a lot of money,” Clark said. “Universities have hidden fees that are so hidden, that you need the I Spy book. I really feel that this school has looked out for me entirely as a student. This school really treats me with respect.

“When I came here it was a smaller vibe, everything was in one space as far as getting it done … there is counseling, financial aid all in one space, which was really easy for me starting off as a student. My very first college class — Psychology 101 — at Western Washington had 300 students in it. I have 10-18 students in my classes here.”

Once acclimated at WNC, attending a Student Leadership Summit early on a cold and snowy Saturday morning changed Clark’s perspective and focus as a student.

“It was so beautiful seeing all of the faculty and speakers lighting a fire under you and motivating you to not only become a better student but a better person and how you grow from being a student,” she said. “They challenged us: ‘Is getting your diploma all that you want to achieve as a student? If you want another challenge, what would it be? Why don’t you go find that?’

“I remember thinking that there has to be a challenge for me here at WNC; let me find it, and I did.”

Student government has become that calling for Clark. She quickly transitioned from her start as a senator to serving as ASWN vice president last fall. By the beginning of the 2020 spring semester, however, she became the No. 1 student voice on campus.

She said the best part about working with ASWN is “knowing that there is a need in the community, helping the school identify that need, as well as doing something about it and putting it into place. Walking the talk and leaving this place better than when I found it.”

Besides the food and hygiene pantry project, she is pleased that ASWN has provided more support for the college’s variety of student clubs. That continued support will be one of her goals for the 2020-21 school year.

Rikalo said that Clark has a number of qualities that separate her as a student leader.

“I am thrilled to work with such an outgoing, caring and inclusive student leader,” Rikalo said. “Gabby is definitely a champion of the student and works tirelessly to advocate for her peers. Her leadership journey is inspiring and she will be sorely missed when she transitions to UNR full time next fall.” 

Clark graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in June and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family studies with a minor in Business Administration. You can reach her at gabrielle.clark@wnc.edu.

Golf for Education Fundraiser Memorable, Thanks to Many Participants, Contributors

Golfers, sponsors and volunteers made sure that Western Nevada College Foundation’s annual Golf Classic fundraiser was an all-around success on a spectacular Sept. 25 sunny day at Toiyabe Golf Club.

The 21st annual Golf for Education scramble tournament sold out with 144 players participating in the 18-hole event and raising more than $25,000 to help meet the region’s workforce needs as the Sierra Region’s economy continues to rebound from a recession brought on by COVID-19.

Golfers were treated to blue skies and ideal scoring conditions. Leading the way in the highly competitive scramble was BBSI’s team including Devin Sizemore, Kyle Robertson, Michael Zeno & Josh Weeden. The champions shot 32 under par to win a tightly contested competition. Defending champion Beverage Technologies, which included Jeff Love, Keith Squires, Sean Gosherd and Kenny Napoletano, finished second.

Three players earned individual honors: Aaron Elevi won the closest to the pin on the par-3 No. 8 hole at 2 feet, 5 inches. Long drive winners were Byron Wimmer and Meghan Ingalls.

Western Nevada College would like to thank presenting sponsor Southwest Gas for its generosity and community-mindedness. Many businesses in the area stepped up as well to ensure that the golfers had a great time, including Briggs Electric Inc., Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota, Dick Campagni’s Capital Ford, Carson Tahoe Health, Allison MacKenzie, Greater Nevada Credit Union, Manpower, Polara, Dixon Golf, Battle Born Beer and The BroBasket.

Also, many thanks to business team sponsors Classic Finishes, D.A. Davidson-Rich Concepts Investment Group, United Federal Credit Union, Metcalf Builders Inc., Swanson’s Special Forces: Mary Kay, Waddell & Reed-Washoe Wealth Advisors, Rock Solid Solutions, Amada Senior Care, Advanced Health Care of Reno/Advanced Home Health and Hospice of Reno.

See you next year!

Community Invited to Attend Dia de los Muertos Celebration Nov. 2-6

The community is invited to attend Dia de los Muertos, a traditional Mexican celebration that honors deceased loved ones and/or their heroes by creating an altar that includes their pictures and favorite foods.

Students from the Western Nevada College Latino Leadership Academy and the Associated Students of Western Nevada will present the fifth annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration from Nov. 2 through Nov. 6 in the Art Gallery in the Bristlecone Building on the Carson campus and at Virgil Getto Hall lobby on the Fallon campus.

There will also be a contest as part of the altar display. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There will be free Mexican bread (pan de muertos) and Mexican hot chocolate on Nov. 2.

For more information, phone 775-445-3271.

Oct. 31 Deadline Approaches to Apply for Promise Scholarship

Upcoming high school graduates don’t have time to wait to take advantage of an opportunity that could impact their professional lives.

High school students graduating from a Nevada high school in spring 2021 who plan to Western Nevada College in fall 2021 must apply for the Nevada Promise Scholarship no later than Oct. 31, 2020. 

The scholarship covers tuition and other mandatory fees not met by federal or state aid for up to three years. There are no income or high school GPA requirements and it is open to all Nevada high school students graduating between Aug. 1 and June 15 who begin classes at WNC in the fall immediately following graduation.

To apply or to learn more about the Nevada Promise Scholarship, go to http://www.wnc.edu/promise/ and “Click to Apply!”.

For more information, contact nvpromise@wnc.edu.