February 17, 2020

Spring 2020 Welcome

Spring is a time for new beginnings—not just in nature, but also in your life and educational journey. I am so pleased to welcome you to Santa Monica College, whether you are a new student or returning! This Spring 2020 semester, my personal wish is that you will grow in the area of your choice and discover something new about the potential that lies within you.

You have made an excellent choice: Santa Monica College is—once again—No. 1 in transfers to the University of California for the 29th consecutive year. SMC is also still No.1 in transfers to USC, Loyola Marymount University, and is the top feeder west of the Mississippi to the Ivy League Columbia University. If your focus is to be career-ready, SMC offers more than 110 career education degrees and certificates, providing you an affordable pathway to train for top careers in fields ranging from the traditional (such as Accounting, Health Sciences, Teacher Training) to new, emerging fields (Cloud Computing, Technical Theatre, Interaction Design & more).

SMC will meet you wherever you are right now. This college's faculty, counselors, and staff are dedicated to your success. It will be our immense joy and privilege to guide you to the goal of your choice.

Lots of important updates for this semester—some brand-new items, a few reminders—are below. Please take the time to read this through, as much of this information is vital!

  • SMC Promise (Deadline Alert!): Don't forget: the Santa Monica College Promise for first-year, full-time SMC students offers free enrollment & textbook vouchers up to $1,200 for the entire academic year! If you think you might qualify, and have not signed up yet, check out this page for info, read the FAQ, and go see a counselor to take advantage of this program. Please note that the deadline to sign up for SMC Promise this spring—as well as for your FAFSA or Dream Act application—is March 1.

    If you received a Promise award last fall, remember that you must have successfully completed (with a grade of D or better) 12 units in fall to be funded this spring. If you feel you are struggling at any point in the semester, please see a counselor early for assistance so that you can maintain your status.

  • Meet Pearl! Your New (Maybe) Best Friend + New Website: SMC's Enrollment Services team—in collaboration with other departments—has launched Pearl, a chatbot platform, to help answer your questions on topics such as admission, enrollment, class scheduling, counseling, financial aid, parking, and more. Pearl is still learning—and you can help her get better by asking more questions! Pearl is available on the SMC website's homepage at smc.edu—you will notice a chat icon at the bottom-right—and on many core webpages. You can also access Pearl via the SMC GO app, by texting "Hi" at 310-807-2262, and on the official SMC Facebook and Twitter feeds.

    In other tech news, SMC is launching a new website this March! The new site will have a student-focused design, content, and structure. The redesign—heavily driven by student, staff, and faculty feedback—will give you a more accessible site, mobile-friendly browsing, easy to find buttons, and more. SMC will continue to check in to see how the website can better serve you.

  • Transportation & Parking: Remember to buy your parking permit online (sign in using your SMC student email ID and password) or in person at the Cashier's Office located on the 1st floor of the Student Services Center (SSC). In the SSC parking lot, there are now six new level 2 charging stations on the bottom floor for those who drive EVs to campus (parking is available for students on level P3). Paid permit parking is good at all student areas on the main campus, the Center for Media & Design on Stewart Street, and the Performing Arts Campus. Bundy Campus requires a separate permit, which is free.

    Parking is very difficult to find the first few weeks of spring. I encourage you to drive directly to Bundy campus where you will find plenty of spots. Then, catch the #44 Big Blue Bus to main campus. It runs every 14 minutes. Activate your student ID for unlimited rides on all Big Blue Bus lines for free. To transfer for $0.50, purchase a $1 special SMC TAP card—available only at the main campus bookstore. Other car-free (and care-free!) options to get to campus include: PDF File Expo train, Waze Carpool, SMC Carpool match, bike, bikeshare, e-scooter, or on foot. If you rideshare, please ensure pick-up and drop-off takes place only on Pico Blvd. between 18th and 19th Streets. For details on all these options, see smc.edu/transportation.

  • Everytable: A New Food Lounge at Center for Media & Design! Santa Monica College is very excited to announce a healthy, affordable food option—and a community gathering space—at the Center for Media & Design. The SMC Foundation collaborated with Everytable to open a first-ever Everytable Lounge—the first of its kind at a community college—which will feature a Smartfridge with meals starting at under $5. The lounge is open beginning Tuesday, Feb. 18 and will be a bright, cheerful place where you can gather with friends over food and drinks between (or after!) classes; the café's design was influenced by SMC Bachelor of Science in Interaction Design students. The four SmartFridges will be loaded with items including breakfast burritos, fresh salads, grain bowls, wraps, cold brew coffee, snacks & more.

    The hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. The SMC Foundation and Everytable is organizing a grand opening celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25. There will be free food samples, games, giveaways, music by KCRW DJ Mario Cotto, and more. You are invited! (Bonus: Everytable will also be providing a minimum of 300 healthy meals each week to SMC students who are food insecure. These will be available through the new centralized food pantry on campus, on the ground floor of Cayton, directly opposite the Student Health office, beginning in early March. Be on the lookout for more info!).

  • Take Care of Yourself: Being in school can be stressful, especially if you are juggling other responsibilities. It is very important to take care of yourself, not just to ensure you can stay focused on your academic goals, but for your overall wellbeing. SMC has a whole center dedicated to help you with that: Please visit SMC's Center for Wellness and Wellbeing, in the Liberal Arts building (Room 110) whenever you need one-on-one support. Note that the office will be moving mid-March to Math Complex 117. You can also call the office at 310-434-4503 OR a free 24/7 emotional support line anytime at 1(800) 691-6003.

    In addition, Student Health Services is there to meet your basic healthcare needs; the office is on the bottom floor of Cayton Center, and reachable via phone at 310-434-4262. To learn more about SMC Health and Wellbeing services and to receive regular updates, download the SMC Go App and follow the Health and Wellbeing channel or visit smc.edu/healthandwellbeing.

  • Fresh Food —and Then Some: We know it is not easy for you to stay focused if you are hungry, so Santa Monica College has created a variety of programs to help address student hunger. These include: a new CalFresh resource specialist to help those who are eligible sign up for the federal food assistance program. Those who qualify might be eligible for up to $192 per month in CalFresh benefits. The Cal resource specialist is on campus every Wednesday and Thursday in Student Health Services; stop by or call 310-434-4262 to make your appointment today!

    Thanks to Associated Students, there is also a free food voucher program called FLVR.

    SMC also has 10 food "The Galley" closets located across campus—you are welcome to drop by, talk to a program leader, and get food you need! They are located in Student Life/Cayton Center; Black Collegians/Adelante; EOP&S; Veterans Resource Center; Athletics; STEM; Athletics; Art Department; Life & Physical Sciences Department; and Photo & Fashion Department.

    As mentioned earlier, SMC will open a new centralized food pantry on the bottom floor of Cayton Center. All the fresh produce from Westside Food Bank and Santa Monica Farmer's Market previously available through the weekly Corsair Market will be available in this new pantry, which will be called "The Bodega" and has a soft opening March 8! To learn more about food resources you can email foodsecurity@smc.edu, or check out this webpage. Finally, if you want regular updates on food resources be sure to download the SMC Go App and follow the Food Bell channel.

  • Civic Engagement: It is part of Santa Monica College's vision to foster democratic processes, and we encourage you to exercise the right to vote and be heard. Are you registered to vote in California? Registration is easy, takes just five minutes, and can be done at RegisterToVote.ca.gov. Future civic engagement events will be promoted through the Office of Student Life's Civic Engagement website and the Associated Students' Instagram (@smc_as). Additional information and updates are available in the Secretary of State's "Voting in California" information page, or by calling (800) 345-VOTE (8683). Here are some important dates in Spring 2020: Feb. 18 is the Voter Registration Deadline (primary election) and March 3 is Primary Election Day!

  • Safety: Your safety is very, very important to us. SMC's Police Department has created a campus safety app called "LiveSafe". I encourage you strongly to download it on to your phone. This app is a quick, convenient, and discreet way for you to communicate directly with SMC safety officials, and provides a way to help campus police personnel to better protect you. You can also dial 310-434-4300 to speak with a person directly. That said, please remember that we count on everyone to help keep SMC safe: this means that if you see something, you should (please) say something.

  • Have Some Fun & Find a Community: Whether you are into music, ballroom dancing, new languages, anthropology, art or any other specific interest, chances are high that there's an SMC student club just for that! Most fall and spring semesters, there are over 60 student clubs registered with the Inter-Club Council. You have lots of options to have fun and grow with friends when you're not in class. On the off chance that there is no club that fits your interests, YOU can always start one! Find out about joining a club, or starting one right here. Don't forget to take advantage of the vast range of extra-curricular activities SMC offers just for you. These include concerts, dance performances, plays, athletic events (Go Corsairs!), and recreational options (most events are free or feature steeply discounted student tickets). If you are seeking intellectual engagement outside the classroom, there are tons of free guest lectures with renowned experts and great speakers. Check out smc.edu/eventsinfo and follow SMC on Facebook (@SantaMonicaCollegeOfficial) and keep an eye out for stories posted on SMC's Instagram (@smcedu) for up-to-date events info. For all social media channels associated with SMC—so you can stay connected—go to this page.

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Thank you for choosing Santa Monica College—we take the privilege of educating you very seriously. The professors, instructors, counselors and staff here are among the best in their fields as professionals, scholars, scientists & more; I encourage you to take full advantage of office hours. If you need help, just reach out. Remember to stop by your one-stop shop—the gorgeous SMC Student Services Center on Pico Blvd.—for any counseling/support needs.

In closing, an important reminder: SMC holds fast to our values of diversity and inclusivity, and the college is dedicated to providing a safe, inclusive and dynamic learning environment. There is no room for hate or bigotry, against any member of the college community. I am confident and hopeful that you will demonstrate ethical behavior, collegiality, and friendly regard for fellow students from all walks of life. This is one of the most diverse college campuses in the U.S. and it is something that makes Santa Monica College incredibly special. You will find out for yourself!

Have a fruitful and wonderful Spring 2020 semester. I look forward to celebrating you and your successes in the very near future!


Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D.
SMC Superintendent/President