Students at Montgomery County Community College’a (MCCC) West Campus, located in Pottstown, know the way to a closer campus and community is through their stomachs.
MCCC West Campus students, faculty and staff hosted the campus’ 12th-annual Lasagna Dinner on the evening of Feb. 20. The dinner was initially part of a college-wide, weeklong celebration in honor of Dr. Karen Stout’s inauguration as MCCC president.
“To continue the tradition because of me means a lot,” Stout said. “But, what really means the most to me was that the students review it and continue to improve it each year. It shows the continuous growth of this campus.”
Speaking at the dinner, Stout said she rarely misses attending the event, noting that growing West Campus life and making a broader impact on the surrounding community has been an ongoing goal of hers since taking office.
She added, it is impressive to see the students take leadership opportunities to spearhead the support and development of the annual event.
“And, the lasagna remains exquisite,” Stout said with a smile.
MCCC West Campus Scholarship
Approximately 50 people were in attendance and over 75 more participated in the dinner’s take-out option that was held in the afternoon, according to Megan Sneeringer, the college’s director of Annual Giving and Advancement Services. In all, Sneeringer said that the dinner raised over $1,100.
Last year, the campus’ Inter Club Council (ICC) voted to partner with the MCCC Foundation, to give all proceeds from the Lasagna Diner to the West Campus Scholarship.
According to a MCCC West Campus Student Government Association (SGA) member, the decision to exclusively benefit the scholarship sets the lasagna dinner event to become an, “All-West student fundraiser.”
Shanae Roberts, a Limerick resident and MCCC SGA president, explained that her fellow students are proud to support an event that goes toward supporting themselves.
“It’s popular, because it’s a fundraising event for West Campus Scholarship,” Roberts said. “It’s popular because this is our community.”
Furthermore, at previous dinners, a guest of honor would be recognized. Traditionally, the honoree would be the chosen charity of that year’s dinner. However, with the West Campus Scholarship being the sole beneficiary, the ICC also voted to instead recognize a faculty member at both the West and Central MCCC campuses, establishing the new “Outstanding Support to Student Engagement” award at the annual spring Student Leadership Awards Banquet. The award will recognize contributions by faculty or staff, as nominated by students.
A special recognition was given to MCCC History professor Dr. Ryan Johnson, who passed away suddenly Feb. 19. Attendees of the dinner observed a moment of silence remembering Johnson’s passion and commitment to education and West Campus student life. Johnson was co-advisor to the West Campus chapter of Phi Theta kappa Honors Society and the Book Club.
The West Campus Clubs and Organizations made all proceeds from the Feb. 20 lasagna dinner in memory of Johnson.
The Play’s the Thing
Another change in the dinner’s format this year was the introduction to an original play, written and produced by MCCC West Campus student Ryland Beck.
Volunteer students and members of the campus’ new Drama Club, which is going into its third semester, went on stage for a read-through of Beck’s play, “Under the Hood.”
Beck described his play as what happens to, “the next generations of brothers Grim stories.” His play includes the offspring of some well-known fairy tale characters, including the play’s antagonist, the grandson of the Big Bad Wolf, whose penchant is not for blowing down innocent pig houses, rather using conniving litigation to foreclose on them.
According to Beck, whose play will be presented at the campus in the spring, this is the first time West Campus will see an original, student written, produced and performed play.
“It was fantastic,” Jenna Klaus, MCCC assistant director of Civic and Community Engagement, said. “It was the first time anything like that was tried, and it was a unique way to support the dinner.”
Klaus said she hopes the Drama Club will continue to perform or put on whole productions, potentially turning the event into a lasagna dinner theater. She added that a request for additional lighting and other stage improvements have been made.
With the addition of the West Campus Drama Club supporting the event, Klaus said that she is looking forward to more student and club participation with the lasagna dinner.
“My hope is that this becomes a collaboration for an all-campus event,” Klaus said.