When America was attacked by terrorists twenty years ago, and planes were flown into the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and into that Pennsylvania field, men and women from every corner of our great nation raised their hand to serve and fight in our United States military. Hi, my name is Mark Stillion, and I am one of those people.
As a Pittsburgh native, coming to Kent State University was a little challenging for me. Although I would only be traveling about two hours away from home, I was moving away from all the individuals I had ever known to start over in a new state. Because of this, I knew I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity offered to me. I wanted to find my place and my purpose here at Kent.
My name is Christopher Richardson and I am currently the Chief Operating Officer for CHC Addiction Services Inc., based in Akron, Ohio. I graduated from the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Program in 2003. My experience in the program was very fulfilling. Before I started on the path of researching which program I wanted to explore, I had a lifelong goal of enhancing my competencies in substance abuse and mental health.
In these complex times when social justice, abolitionist teaching, critical race theory and the like are under attack, it is more important than ever for our community to take a stand for positive systemic change in our society and the ways we envision schooling.
While I am not a fan of The Grateful Dead, I believe a phrase from Jerry Garcia most accurately describes the pandemic as it relates to campus life and, more specifically, work within The Counseling Center the past year and a half: “What a long, strange trip it’s been!" Kent State, along with campuses across our nation, is moving back to some form of pre-pandemic functioning that includes a notable amount of in-person instruction and campus services.
On July 6, 2021, an NPR newscaster asked Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava why she had so often publicly praised journalists for their stories about those who had been lost or not yet found in the collapse of Champlain Tower South in Surfside, Florida. “What happened was so horrific, so unexpected, and could have been prevented,” the mayor said. “We have to pay homage to those lives.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality and tourism industry severely, as it did to other industries. Restaurants, hotels, and event venues have stood empty for almost a year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Due to travel restrictions and safety regulations, many hospitality and tourism organizations have had a hard time running their businesses, opting to survive in the market rather than aim to make a profit.
Throughout my almost 15 years in the non-profit sector, I’ve been fortunate to work with people who are passionate about supporting organizations and institutions that make our local and global communities great. Meeting with and talking to people who are just starting their journey in philanthropy and those who are seasoned benefactors to create impact is a privilege.