Jenn Sides, Staff Assistant in the Political Science department, talks about hating politics, champagne on the quad, her relationship with students, and what college-aged kids are “into.”
How long have you been at CC?
I have been at the College for ten years now and in the department for almost eight.
What is your job?
I am the office assistant and I help students, faculty members, visitors, and lecturers. I help put together conferences, and I help send students abroad. I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades. I get a gazillion e-mails everyday.
How would you define your relationships with students?
Students are the whole reason I’m here. I absolutely love the students, and that’s what gets me out of bed and here everyday. It keeps me young, and it’s just fun to be a part of such a vibrant group of people. I try to get to know everybody as much as I can on a one-on-one basis. I have some kids that just call me mom.
What have you learned about students or people our age over the years?
It makes me giggle because not much has changed. I was 18 to 22 one time too, and it’s a reminder that we have all been at that stage. I think it’s a reminder that, because I have been there and made it through in one piece, it’s nice to be able to pass on thoughts, advice, and suggestions. Not much changes; you guys are into the same kind of stuff that I was.
What is the most memorable moment you have experienced at CC?
Actually a huge one happened at the end of last year. There was a small disagreement between a student and a group that I was on, which kind of caused a rift between the student and myself. We didn’t talk for a couple months and avoided each other, but at the end of the year at Baccalaureate the student came up to me and said, “Regardless of our differences you have made one of the biggest differences in my life at CC” and that he always felt like he had a place to kind of call home. That completely choked me up and reminded me why I’m here.
What is your favorite CC tradition?
Champagne on the Quad. I don’t partake in it, but it’s so fabulous to see the entire group of graduating seniors be so happy and so relieved that this is done and the next chapter of their life is starting.
You’ve seen a lot of people come and go from the CC community, including faculty. What do you think about our new president and her year of planning?
I think it’s a phenomenal idea. I know that a lot of times in the past there’s been this strategic planning, and it’s never gone anywhere. I think that Jill is a go-getter and a mover and a shaker, and I think this will happen. I honestly believe it will change the college for the better.
How do you think CC is viewed by the Colorado Springs community?
I think it’s getting better. It used to be looked at as a bunch of rich white kids, and I think that slowly that perception is changing, especially with the community outreach that the students do. Plus every chance I get I tell them how awesome you guys are.
How would you describe the typical CC student?
I think the only words that you can use that would be typical are smart, engaged, and driven. That is a big umbrella, but I think all of our students that come here fit into those categories. Other than that, I don’t think that there is a typical student. Everyone is so different and everyone is interested in different things. Everybody leaves an individual mark. That’s why I like working here.
You work in the political science department, but do you ever get sick of hearing about politics, especially when election campaigning got really serious earlier this year?
The irony is that yes, I work in the political science department, but it’s so not my forte. I pay attention to as much as I can handle, but I was sick of the campaign. I’m so glad it’s over. Politics really aren’t my thing, but I have no issue taking a stand when I need to.