One year ago at this time, Thuw J-Elmi was just beginning her journey at Onondaga Community College. She had come here from the Chicago area, spent the previous year taking classes at home because of Covid, and didn't know anyone on campus.
Early in her first semester she decided to take a chance and join the Spanish Club which was led by Professor Gerardo Cummings. "He's a really good guy who changed my experience here. I asked him about opportunities to get involved and he told me about Unity Day and Student Government. I decided to find the Student Government office (on the first floor of the Gordon Student Center), spoke with people there, and got involved."
Today J-Elmi plays a significant role in campus life. She's an officer with Student Government, serving as the Chair of Inclusion & Support. She's a member of the Unity Day Committee, and is involved in planning for this semester's event which will be held September 21.
She's also pursuing her Humanities & Social Sciences degree. Next May she will become the first member of her family to earn a college degree. "My view of community colleges has changed so much. In high school they would tell us about universities and four-year colleges. They never explained to us how much money you could save at a community college while doing your gen-eds and figuring out what you wanted to do."
J-Elmi has also figured out after she completes her degree here, she will transfer to a four-year college and focus on Public Relations and Writing. Between now and then, she's looking forward to enjoying her last year on campus. "I really like the feeling of community here. I never thought a community college would have Student Government or clubs. I like to tell students 'being a part of these things will really change your experience here and your life.'"