OCCC ready and eager to help students

Chris James/Pioneer
Captioning Specialist Marian Rother is working on captioning a video on Tuesday, Jan. 10 for use by students with hearing impairments.

As the semester kicks off here at O-Trip, new students flock to campus. But while the new students work to figure out where things are, the returning students could probably use a refresher.

In order to help both new and returning students, here’s a quick overview of some of the essential services OCCC offers.


Student Services

New student orientation is a great way to get familiar with campus life, according to Marion Paden, Enrollment and Student Services Vice President.

“There are a number of services available to support students to help them determine goal identification and workshops for test taking and study skills,” Paden said.

“The biggest thing for students is to not find themselves without opportunities to get involved and get the support they need.”

Paden said on a campus of 22,000, student services are a big necessity.


Chris James/Pioneer
Raney Foaster is preparing to take a math test in the OCCC Testing Center on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

“Making the decision to go to college is a courageous step. If it’s not coming easily … it’s OK.

“[Students] just need to let us know …” she said. “The only one that knows that they need help is the individual.

“A lot of being a (new student) is just learning how to go to college — the financial obligations, admissions, and knowing that books are important on that first day of class,” Paden said.

Paden said many students also don’t realize they may sometimes have to schedule a test in the Test Center, instead of taking the test in class.

Students are encouraged to stop by Student Services or Advisement for help or jump on the college website for links to services.

Students will find the Student Services office to their left past the semicircle of computers when they enter the Main Building from the north.


Campus Police

As students step on campus this spring they’ll notice a strong presence of police officers.

The campus police department provides numerous services to help safeguard students and keep the campus trouble free.

Students can request an escort to and from their car, ask for a jumpstart or get help getting in their locked car.

Security also will air up a flat but won’t change a tire.

Security takes reports that come in through the emergency phones and provides backpack checks at the bookstore to help prevent theft.

Keith Bourque, safety and security coordinator, said students should “come by and see us anytime.”

The campus police office is located next to the Student Life office at Entry MB3 on the first floor of the Main Building.


Chris James/Pioneer
Math Lab employee, Rocky Litle is explaining a math problem to Shekita Gray on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Math Lab

Located on the second floor, just inside SEM 2, the Math Lab offers tutoring at all levels for every math class taught on campus, said Christine Peck, Math Lab supervisor.

“Another thing we like to mention is we have really extended hours,” Peck said.

“We’re open 7:30 a.m. through 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday (from) 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

The Math Lab also offers current copies of every math textbook used on campus and calculators, which can be used in the lab by students, Peck said.

“And we run calculator workshops for the TI-84, the required calculator for Business Calculus I and II, Statistics and Algebra,” Peck said.

Peck said students can get help figuring out the required calculators at any time during the semester by asking a math lab tutor, or staff.

The lab has more than 100 computers, which can be used both for online math homework, or other campus related activities, she said.

The Math Lab also offers printing to students, for materials such as homework, Peck said.

The lab is set up to be a welcoming study environment, with tables and chairs arranged to facilitate study groups, and whiteboards for student use, she said.


Chris James/Pioneer
Melissa Armenta is looking over Scholarship information in the OCCC Communications Lab on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Communications Lab

The Communication Lab can be found on the first floor of the Main Building, just outside the entrance to the Student Union.

The lab offers tutoring for any writing project pertaining to an OCCC class, said Rachel Olsen, lab director.

The lab offers a variety of ways to get help, she said.

Students can get one-on-one help in person by coming into the lab and meeting with a tutor directly.

A session usually lasts between 30 and 45 minutes, she said, and students receive a yellow slip to show their professors as proof they used the lab.

“Students can also use Echo, our online service,” Olsen said.

“There’s a sign-up sheet on the Comm Lab website, under the ‘see a tutor’ tab.”

Olsen said students who choose to tutor online through Echo will need to have a Skype account to video chat with their tutor.

“And if a student has at least 48 hours before a paper is due, they can get tutoring through an email exchange.”

Olsen said the lab also offers writing workshops about every other week, and an ESL English conversation group on Mondays and Thursdays.

And, she said, beginning Jan. 17, a second location will open in the Visual and Performing Arts Center. That will be called Comm Lab 2, Olsen said.

“There won’t really be a computer lab like there is in the main lab, but there’s tutoring help and we’ll have study skills meetings in the first few months of class. ”

Comm Lab 2 will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday in VPAC 146.

The Main Building lab hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.


Chris James/Pioneer
OCCC Bookstore employee, Martin Oshiro helping Billy Colcord search for a College Algebra textbook on Tuesday, Jan. 10.


The campus bookstore is centrally located on the first floor of the Main Building and has many of the supplies needed to get students through the semester, said Brenda Reinke, bookstore director.

She said students can find hoodies, children’s clothing, backpacks, snacks and other items at competitive prices.

The bookstore also offers textbook rental for certain classes, Reinke said.

“This is the second full semester to offer English Comp. I or II and Nutrition books for rental.”

Reinke said renting is “half the savings” for students but new and used titles are also on hand to purchase.

Students can purchase books online through the campus website and have them delivered to the bookstore without additional shipping fees through Friday, Jan. 13, Reinke said.

The bookstore is open 7:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday; 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.


Testing Center

When visiting the Testing Center of the college, “bring a current student ID,” said Jim Ellis, testing and assessment director.

The Testing Center offers several services to students, including the entry placement test, which gives a baseline set of results to help students and their advisers determine which classes are best for them, Ellis said.

The Testing Center also offers classroom testing, which allows class tests to be administered in the testing center, freeing up valuable class time for further instruction, he said.

“We also offer some specialty tests, such as the TOEFL for international students trying to enroll; the TEAS test for nursing students, and the residual ACT test which some students need for scholarships or for financial aid,” Ellis said.

While any photo ID can be used to take the placement test, Ellis said, students who have already enrolled need to bring their current student ID to use the Testing Center, he said.

“Unless the professor notes otherwise in their testing instructions, you will not be allowed to take anything into the testing area except extra pencils and pens.”

Ellis said students should also take advantage of the lockers outside the Testing Center, which are provided for students to lock up their belongings while taking a test.

“It’s really important that students lock up their phones, especially.

“If you take a phone into the testing area and we see it or it goes off, your test is over.

“And then you’ll have to work it out with the professor on retaking it or making it up.”

The lockers have recently been expanded to include several large sized lockers, Ellis said.

“We get students coming in here now with these huge, rolling camping backpacks and those don’t really fit into a standard-sized locker.”

Ellis said the center offers accommodations for students with disabilities.

Students who need help with that should contact Student Support Services to get the appropriate permission papers to show Testing Center staff.

The Testing Center is open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday, and is located across from Financial Aid on the first floor of the Main Building.

To contact Jeremy Cloud, email editor@occc.edu.

To contact Yvonne Alex, email staffwriter3@occc.edu.

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