Thursday, August 28, 2014

SLCC staff serve up pasta at the Utah Food Bank

How will you use your community engagement leave time?

As part of the Government and Community Relations 2014 retreat, we decided to use community engagement leave time and volunteer as a division at the Utah Food Bank. Led by Vice President of Government and Community Relations Tim Sheehan, we donned hairnets and plastic gloves to package pasta for distribution.

While we were there, we were struck by the enormity of what the Food Bank does. Each day, one in six Utahns are at risk of missing a meal. In 2013, the Utah Food Bank worked to ease hunger by distributing more than 36 million pounds of food, the equivalent of approximately 28 million meals, to people across the state. To do this, the food bank relies on ninety staff and some 57,000 volunteers.

This is a great time for you and your division to get involved in our community! September is Hunger Action Month, when Feeding America, the Utah Food Bank, and a nationwide network of food banks unite to urge individuals to take action in their communities. We challenge all full time staff to use their community engagement leave time to volunteer at the Utah Food Bank or with other SLCC partner organizations (you can find a list here). Follow this link to learn about ways you can participate in Hunger Action Month or this link to volunteer at the Food Bank.

If you already used community engagement leave to volunteer with SLCC partners, we encourage you to leave a comment or submit a blog about your experience!

See "Maleficent" for Movie Under the Stars at Jordan Campus

The Salt Lake Community College Student Association presents Disney's "Maleficent" for Movie Under the Stars September 5, 8:30 p.m. at the Student Pavilion Amphitheater on the Jordan Campus. Admission is free and there will be popcorn and drinks. Bring your blankets and chairs!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Alternative Fall Break 2014

October 16-18

Service Opportunities

Utahns Against Hunger/Real Food Rising
Urban Farm, 1050 W 500 S, SLC

Salt Lake Community Action Program/Meals on Wheels
Wheeler Farm Cove, 900 E 6185 S, Murray

Utah Food Bank
3150 S 900 W, Salt Lake City

Interested students must attend one of the following mandatory orientations:

Taylorsville Redwood Campus, STC Rm 050
Mon. September 8, 10:30 am or 3:30 pm
Thurs. September 11, 11 am
Mon. September 15 or Tuesday, Sept 16, 5:30 pm

Jordan Campus, Student Pavillon Rm 206
Tues. September 9, 3:30 pm

South City Campus, Alumni Room 1-147
Wed. September 10, 1:30 or 2:30 pm

Applications are accepted September 17-24, 2014.

For more information:

Problem solver ‘making things happen’ at SLCC’s South City Campus

In the Salt Lake Community College staff directory Amir Sadeghi’s title is listed as “specialist,” which doesn’t quite capture what he does at South City Campus.

But even Sadeghi isn’t sure how to frame his job description.

For example, his cell phone rings on Wednesday afternoon in June. It’s someone who needs access to a walk-in cooler to store food for an event that night. At other events he might need to find someone to set up tables and chairs or, in lieu of available laborers, he’ll do it himself.

Sadeghi settles on “event management” as a catch-all for what he does, which includes being in on security issues and making sure event planners follow rules set in place by the College.

“I make sure all the events pretty much follow regulations and make sure they have what they need for a successful event,” he said. “A little keeping in line and making things happen.”

So, anyone who has planned or worked on an event at South City Campus over the past year has worked with Sadeghi, who has a knack for carving away the fat of any situation and getting to the meat of the matter. It’s an approach that might be a refreshing addition to, say, politics – that is, if he had the stomach for it.

“I do not like politics. I don’t trust politicians,” he said. “Anyone who speaks a lawyer’s language, I do not trust.”

Sadeghi doesn’t hold anything against lawyers doing their job, it’s the language they use that seems to permeate too many discussions between elected officials that runs counter to how he likes to communicate.

“I’m a very straight-forward person,” he said. “I like to get to the point and solve the problem. I don’t like to play games and beat around the bush.”

So, politics are out as a future career path for this student at SLCC, where he is studying to earn an associate degree before moving on toward a degree in mathematics.

“I’ll get my math degree and see where it takes me from there,” he said. “I’ll always try to work on (creating) opportunities, and when doors open I’ll work through them – but I won’t jump.”

Thoughtful and methodical are two words that describe the man who spent six years of his childhood in Iran, his father’s birthplace and current home. Sadeghi’s mother is from Peru, where he traveled recently for five weeks.

“I’m going there for myself,” he said before embarking on the trip to Peru. He said he wanted to see a lot of sunrises and enjoy the trip without worrying about taking photos all the time or sharing it all on social media, as is the trend these days.

At home he likes to play soccer with his cousins and friends. Or, if you’re walking down a certain street in downtown Salt Lake City, you might hear him relaxing in his apartment while playing flamenco-style music on his classical guitar.

“I play for myself,” he said. “I don’t pick it up to try and please anyone. I just go to that little relaxing place, get away from the world, even if you’re on a busy street.”

But he does please people at work, where he started as a cashier and flexed his customer services muscles – revealing a rare quasi-boast from him.

“I did love the cashiering job simply because of the interaction I had with students,” he said. “I was good at it. I have natural customer service skills.”

He was a cashier for about 18 months before being encouraged to take on his current position.

“I think I’ve made people pretty happy so far – and I’m still here,” he said. “People tell me thank you and I help them out a lot, and they’re grateful.”

Sadeghi has never been a “money guy,” preferring a simpler life, happy to accept a simple and humble ‘Thank you’ from those he helps. But he spends the gratitude as soon as he receives it.

“I don’t carry it,” he said. “I enjoy the moment and I let it sit there. I don’t take it with me, because you have to take one challenge at a time. If you carry that with you, it makes you too cocky.”

The word “simple” keeps popping up in a conversation with Sadeghi, who notes that he’s an “open book.” Again, it’s refreshing.

“I’m a very simple person,” he said. “If something doesn’t need to be said, I keep it to myself.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hypnotist and comedian Chris Jones performing at Taylorsville Redwood Campus

Hypnotist and comedian Chris Jones will be performing August 28, 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake Community College Student Event Center on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The event is free and open to the public. Jones has performed at colleges all over the country and offers "a performance unlike any other."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ball in the House vocalists welcome SLCC students

The "Pop-A-Capella" group Ball in the House performed Wednesday at Salt Lake Community College's Jordan Campus and Thursday at South City Campus. They will be appearing Friday, 11:30 a.m., at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus' Student Center west patio.




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Artist brings creativity to the look of SLCC messaging

As seen in the "You Know Us" Convocation video.

When you see Amber Giles standing while working at her desk, you might notice a wire coming from one ear and the fact that she’s probably not standing still.

If you’re in a meeting with Giles, you’ll see her doodling, which actually means she’s paying attention.

And if you followed her around after she leaves work at Salt Lake Community College as a digital designer, you’d see her painting with acrylics or putting on ballet shoes in a dance studio or you’d hear her singing, playing the piano or violin.

It all helps paint a portrait of a creative person whose job it is to ‘get the word out,’ so to speak.

“If I don’t do my job, nobody knows about anything,” Giles laughs.

As a designer in the Marketing and Communications Department at SLCC, a place she considers a second home, Giles assembles emails that go out to staff, faculty and students, incorporating words and images in a way that hopefully compel and catch the eye.

“People will see them and will be like, ‘Oh, did you send that out?’” she said about the visual impression her work leaves on readers. “People will say, ‘I really like how that was organized.’”

She also helps maintain the look of the College’s web site and designs flyers, postcards and posters that are displayed throughout SLCC’s multiple campuses.

Giles, 25, earned an associate degree in Graphic Design from SLCC and is working toward a bachelor degree. That academic path started with one web design class in high school.

“And it was something I liked to do,” she said. “I think it’s like a mental thing. When I design something, I don’t focus on the design. My mind wanders, so I can just come up with something. It’s not a structured process. It’s just whatever happens, happens.”

And in the seven years she’s been working at SLCC, Giles has been quietly gaining a reputation for doing her job well and for being a go-to problem solver, kind of like a techno wizard.

“I don’t know where I get that from,” she said.

Maybe, she added, it comes from being the youngest of eight children in a house with two volunteer-minded parents, who both still work at SLCC and did while Giles was growing up in a home two minutes from campus. Her mastery of all things technical around the office – and willingness to share that knowledge – is an example of how she describes herself: equal parts right and left brained. The right side takes over when it’s time to dance.

“When I walk through the doors of the studio, everything else just goes away,” she said. “I can’t explain it. It’s something that comes very naturally to me.”

She’s a ballerina, who also happens to play soccer and, especially during World Cup action, can be seen glued to a TV for all of the action – no doubt with one or both legs jumping.

“I like to move,” she said.

And sing. Doodle. Dance.

And, to the benefit of SLCC, create.

Convocation 2014: Here we go.

Scenes from the 2014 Convocation held at SLCC's Taylorsville Redwood Campus.

Food trucks lined the sidewalks!

Ready? Set. Here we go.

Even Odie was into it.

SLCC student body officers are ready!

Chad Erekson was ready to eat his Korean BBQ.

Some added a little spice to the event!

Some made dining by the Chow Truck a social affair.

A sweet time was had by all.

Beautiful first day of class at Taylorsville Redwood Campus!

The rains came and went overnight, making way for a picture-perfect first day of class. Here we go.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

SLCC film student gets grant to document ‘coverage gap’

Salt Lake Community College film student Paul Gibbs rattled a few cages with the documentary “Entitled to Life,” which looked at the lives of six Utahns who fall into a “coverage gap” by not qualifying for Medicaid or subsidized insurance.

Courtesy photo - Paul Gibbs

Gibbs, 39, pursuing a film production degree at SLCC’s Center for Arts and Media, recently received a grant from to fund another similar project that will examine the coverage gap in two other states. He said he plans to start production for that project around Labor Day.

In June Gibbs wrote a letter that appeared in a Utah daily newspaper, chastising Utah lawmakers for not responding to emails asking them to view “Entitled to Life.”

“Sadly, our Legislature seems determined to shut out the poor people of Utah who want to speak up and share their stories,” Gibbs wrote in his letter. “For many, the decision of whether or not to accept Gov. (Gary) Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan will determine whether they live or die, and they deserve to have their voices heard.”

After the letter, Gibbs was invited by the Legislature’s Health Reform Task Force in July to show portions of his film to legislators at the group’s meeting. He said afterward that lawmakers still seem resistant to implementing Herbert’s plan, but that if the film didn’t actually sway a few opinions it at least made them more aware of the coverage gap’s impact on actual people.

“I think that it went well,” Gibbs said about showing the film to Utah lawmakers. “They listened and paid attention.”

Gibbs’ film “Entitled to Live” debuted in June at Broadway Centre Cinemas and is currently available to view on YouTube, where it has been played more than 2,000 times. Voices for Utah Children and Utah Healthy Policy Project have been promoting the film and its stories toward changing lawmakers’ minds.

SLCC helicopter pilot student helps save family after plane crash

Steven Sedlacek was unconscious in the pilot seat of a small plane that, after crashing in a West Jordan soccer field, was smoking and about to catch fire when Utah Army National Guard S.Sgt. Robert Kelley approached.

Sedlacek’s wife Kathleen was, as Kelley described it, conscious but “out of it” in the passenger seat next to her husband. And their daughter, Anna Looper, was in the back shaken and in obvious pain.

Kelley, who this fall will finish his education at Salt Lake Community College toward becoming a professional helicopter pilot, was one of the first few people to reach the scene this past Sunday.

His training in the military and experiences serving in Iraq and Afghanistan told him that he had to remain calm, focus and help the family out of the plane, or they might die.

Salt Lake Community College student Robert Kelley

Kelley, 29, was born and raised in Park City. He tried college when he was 20, but just wasn’t ready. He joined the Utah Guard and has since had four deployments, including Hurricane Katrina, the border of Mexico, Iraq and Afghanistan.

His specialty overseas as a combat engineer has been to search out improvised explosive devices (IEDs) ahead of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. In Afghanistan his unit was in a “ton” of firefights. While in Iraq he earned a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained when his truck hit a landmine, exploding directly underneath where he was sitting.

Kelley has “good and bad” days after enduring a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during the explosion that hit his truck in Iraq. He is an instructor for the Utah Guard’s 640th Regiment Regional Training Institute (RTI) at Camp Williams.

Kelley, who lives in West Jordan, was dressed in his military fatigues and on his way to work at the Utah Guard RTI on August 10 when he was at a stoplight near South Valley Regional Airport, located at 7365 S. 4570 West. He noticed a small plane taking off but having trouble as it banked left while the plane’s landing gear came down.

“As soon as he did that, I knew he was going down,” Kelley said.

Robert Kelley

He gunned the gas on his own vehicle at the quiet intersection, running the stoplight, and sped out on to a nearby soccer field where the plane crashed. He was put on hold with 911, “Which I thought was funny on a Sunday morning,” as he neared the crash site. Kelley could see smoke already coming from the engine.

Still on the phone with 911, Kelley calmly assessed the scene as the dispatcher told him to wait for emergency responders.

“I told myself, ‘I don’t care, I’m going in anyway,’” said Kelley, whose adrenaline and instincts began to kick in.

He unbuckled Kathleen Sedlacek from her seat, pulled her out and carried her to safety.

Kelley opened a back door to the plane and asked the daughter, Anna Looper, if she could get out on her own.

“I said, ‘Come to me,’ but as soon as she took one step she collapsed,” Kelley said. So, he and another rescuer helped pull the woman out of and away from the plane, with an engine now in flames, in the green grass of the soccer field.

He ran back to the plane to help rescue the unconscious father, Steven Sedlacek.

“By this time the flames were getting bigger and bigger, almost to the cabin of the plane,” Kelley recalled.

With help from another rescuer, he pulled Sedlacek from the plane within seconds, Kelley noted, of the cabin becoming engulfed in flames.

“It was just perfect timing,” Kelley said.

Police arrived next, and then firefighters. Kelley pounded an energy drink he had in his car, knowing he’d experience an “adrenaline dump” in the coming minutes.

Life this past week hasn’t been quite the same, with local and national media calling him for interviews. He’s being called a “hero.” The Army has put in for a Utah Cross award for Kelley.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting to talk to me,” he said.

In the days that followed the crash, Kelley visited each family member, very much alive and healing, in the hospital.

First, Mom.

“She didn’t recognize me at first because I was in my civilian clothes,” he said. “She started crying and was so excited to see me.”


“As soon as I walked in the door she started crying,” Kelley said.

The father was still in an Intensive Care Unit with a tube down his throat, but he could write – and with a sense of humor mixed with tears in his eyes.

“He wrote, ‘No more flying,’” Kelley said. “Everyone kind of chuckled.”

Kelley, however, has not changed his flight plan.

“That’s the risk you take when becoming a pilot,” he said about crashes.

Kelley is focused on finishing at SLCC with an associate degree in the Aerospace/Aviation Technology program’s rotor wing professional pilot track. He hopes of someday becoming a pilot for a search and rescue outfit or a hospital’s emergency medical unit.