Good friends are always worth a change of schedule – Leader & Times

Last weekend, as I returned from a state meeting with peer community colleges, I reviewed everything that has been happening on campus and made a mental list of what I should tackle first. Whenever I travel away from Seward County Community College, there is a sense of wanting to take care of business as soon as I get back. 
Life had a surprise for me, though. One of my oldest and best friends texted to say he and his family were on the road. Could he stop by Liberal to connect? 
That’s why, late Sunday night, I emailed campus to tell our team that my plans had changed a bit and I would be in Monday afternoon rather than first thing in the morning. 
My friend and I have known each other since fourth grade. It’s rare in life to remain close to people you first met in elementary school, and rarer still to grow the relationship past the things kids do (and maybe aren’t supposed to do) into true adult friendship. This is increasingly difficult to achieve as people pull up stakes, change jobs, and adopt a more transient lifestyle. 
I thought about how important those lifelong friendships are as I pulled into campus on Monday afternoon. Our students are probably not thinking about such long-term goals — they are busy looking for a free parking spot for that 1 p.m. class, juggling work and academic responsibilities, learning how to live as semi-independent adults. But the friendships they develop as part of the Saints family are ones that can last for decades and can be just as influential as the classes they enroll in and the degrees they earn.
Opportunities for friendship are abundant all over campus. Student-athletes are already grouped together by necessity — they have similar schedules due to practice and game calendars. But every team contains so much diversity, it can be mind-boggling. Our Saints Athletics teams bring together students from across the world, from Europe to South America, Africa, Asia, and all parts of North America. The bonds on a team can make or break a season record, and they can also transform those individuals as they learn to community and collaborate with others. 
Student life activities on campus are just as varied. Under the supervision of Student Life Director Wade Lyon, more than 20 clubs offer all kinds of activities for their members. Students have so many options, from anime to Bible studies to Quiz Bowl and creative writing. For those who want to get out into the community, HALO, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Presidential Scholars groups offer an abundance of volunteer and service opportunities. We want our students to get to know each other, as well as the community members around them. 
Friendship begins with looking up from that cell phone screen and making eye contact. It can start with a smile. Sometimes, it grows out of a shared experience, like struggling through a class in a language that is not your first or learning to handle math equations you haven’t encountered before. Our students are encouraged to join study groups and to schedule sessions with peer tutors, but we also know they can figure out how to be helpful on their own. It is not unusual to see groups of students talking over textbooks in the Hobble Building hallway or sharing notes and observations in the study pods in the Saints Library. 
Most Fridays on campus, you will see students gathered in the Student Union for Funday Friday for an activity that usually involves food. This week, it was the old-fashioned popcorn machine. Previous sessions involved bagels, waffles, the ever-popular chocolate fountain, and gourmet grilled cheese. Once a year, we offer a community-wide adult version of the students’ food adventures with the Taste of Kansas community potluck, featuring international and home-cooked favorites. 
All year long, I’m encouraging our SCCC faculty and staff to branch out and get to know others, too. Starting this fall, the President’s Office at SCCC will sponsor any employee’s membership in the many civic clubs in Liberal. We see a lot of them during their weekday meetings in the SCCC conference rooms, from the Lions to the Kiwanis and the Rotary Club. If employees want to join an organization but find it difficult to pay the dues, my office will gladly pick up the cost. Individual meals are still up to the member, and we do want participants to attend at least 60 percent of the scheduled meetings. My goal is to make it easier for our SCCC family to get to know more neighbors and friends, and to contribute to the wellbeing of the community. 
Friendship is never a waste of time, as I experienced this week at work. I want to encourage our students and staff members to keep this in mind as we make our way through another great year at SCCC. 
VOICES OF HISTORY, Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
GUEST COLUMN, David Harsanyi,
The regulatory burden on people and businesses accumulates [ … ]
The Leader & Times is published Tuesday through Friday and Sunday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.
For more, contact us.
Get the  Leader & Times delivered to your home for $111.60 per year in Liberal, or $219.40 outside Liberal. Call 620-626-0840 for a subscription today. Or for $79 per year, receive the electronic edition delivered to your email. To subscribe today, email


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *