When evaluating the value of a college education, or even a college campus itself, the discussion often turns to the down-to-earth, economic, dollars-and-cents metrics of jobs and careers.
It's a discussion that Waubonsee Community College faculty and staff, along with many of our colleagues in community colleges across the nation, love to have.
We are all proud of the affordable, quality education we offer to help our students pursue their dreams and become contributing members of the local workforce.
The value of higher education, however, only begins with the so-called bottom line. After all, how might someone place a value on the cultural perspectives gained by time spent living in another country through a study abroad program? Or how can one quantify the worth of performing in a college jazz band, or simply absorbing the beauty of a chorale performance? What metric can be applied to measure the value of admiring paintings, sculptures and other works of art, both beautiful and challenging, or, perhaps still better, engaging the mind of the artist who created those works?
In addition to the economic benefits of a higher education, colleges also offer priceless opportunities for personal enrichment and life changing experiences.
At Waubonsee, such access includes our annual low-cost entertainment and recreational offerings, ranging from our summertime Xcelerate camps for children and teens to our special presentations with renowned writers, entertainers and thinkers.
Soon, for instance, as we have done in recent months with journalist and television host Bill Kurtis and Chicago's Magic Man Dennis Watkins, we will welcome to our auditorium internationally known travel writer and television host Rick Steves to gain his insights on traveling Europe.
Members of our community also enjoy a variety of free cultural offerings, including our student musical ensemble concerts and art displays, both on campus and off, and our regular series of visiting artist lectures and workshops, among many others.
We know a wide assortment of other organizations also promote the arts and offer personal enrichment opportunities in our region. What makes community colleges different is our commitment to providing access to not only enjoy the performances, but to take part.
Other organizations may require an audition, portfolio or, a curator's approval and perhaps even entrance exams and substantial fees.
But at community colleges, those who wish to participate can find credit and noncredit classes, ensembles, art shows and a host of other opportunities for any level of training, talent and interest. We open wide the doors for all residents who wish to express themselves through the arts and contribute to the cultural enrichment of their own lives and of the communities we all call home.
We invite all to come see these opportunities for themselves and experience the unique creative expressions our lives -- everyone's lives -- have to offer.