DJRN 200 students end term with campus Block Party coverage

Block Party

The semester-ending event demonstrates the work and skills of City College students, many of whom will move onto City Times next semester

By Melisa Cabello-Cuahutle
News Editor

This article first appeared in the September 2019 print edition of the City Times.

As tradition dictates, San Diego City College held its biannual Block Party on Dec. 5, showcasing student work and inviting others to learn about classes and professors.

Located in the Curran Plaza, City College faculty organized the event for students to join and create their own booths.

CT Block Party
Lacey Stefano (left) and Melisa Cabello-Cuahutle recruited students on behalf of Digital Journalism at the Block Party. Photo by Nicole Vargas

One of the biggest booths belonged to Umoja. It highlighted the struggles students of color experience at City College, such as engagement and adjustment issues.

The booth’s goal was to get students prepared to thrive in universities.

Although the booths had diverse themes, more than one covered issues around people of color.

Professor Ebony Tyree’s English 101 class had a booth that showed how racism impacts people.

The tri-board asked “How privileged are you?” and included quotes such as “I have never been the only person of my race in a room” or “I have never been mocked for my accent.”

Also from an English 101 class, students hosted a booth addressing immigration issues.

Their mission was to raise “awareness about the struggles and risks that immigrants go through to cross the border (that) Americans don’t want to admit,” according to student Violeta Gonzalez.

A third English 101 class had a “Meatless Monday” booth. The group of students at it were not vegetarian, but have really started to question their choices since choosing the topic.

“It’s kind of shocking,” Joanna Lopez said. “(It is) us eating that is making all of these companies go destroy everything.”

Cosmotology studentsThe booth was complete with statistics and examples of a plant-based diet, and even included a board game made by the students.

On that same theme, City College brought Earth Guardians onto campus and had a booth that educated students on how to reduce waste and create their own deodorants. It also hosted a trivia game.

“We wanted to educate people on this issue and how much plastic is wasted per year on it, what harmful ingredients for the environment that are in (deodorant),” student Jazmine Riego de Dios said.

Students received the opportunity to learn and create their own deodorants at the booth, using reusable containers and three simple ingredients, such as shea butter, non-GMO cornstarch, and baking soda.

The Information Technology Program booth was filled with curious eyes as the professors displayed a talking, dancing robot.

“The reason we work with the robot is because he is programmed,” professor Theresa Savarese said.

The department offers many courses from programming to cybersecurity.

The Alcohol & Other Drug Studies department was also there, hanging flyers about its program that prepares students to become certified as alcohol or drug abuse counselors.

While some booths aimed to educate and show, others had de-stress activities.

City College’s English Language Acquisition Program created a mood board for students to express their emotions through post-it notes.

Professor Natasha Fricoche saw this block party as an opportunity to spread the importance of balancing health and stress.

“Stress is normal,” Fricoche said. “It’s a part of life.”

Seeing mental health as a stigma that people usually avoid, Fricoche wanted to help students cope with stress and live a healthier life.

If you needed some time to unwind during the Block Party, you could also do that with a giant Jenga set and Connect 4.

The sight of multiple therapy dogs caused people to flock to meet them.

There was a French bulldog and two German shepherds. One of the German shepherds, named Zeppelin, is a rescue and has been a therapy dog for one year.

“Zeppelin was found six miles away from any shelter, so he was clearly dumped because he loves people and he would never stray that far,” said Zona Lai, a dog trainer at Sirius K9 Academy.

Zeppelin is trained leashless and showed off his knowledge of his many commands. His skills even attracted the attention of police officers on duty at the event.

Kevin Gossett, or better known as “DJ Shoeshine,” kept the mood lively with music.

Gossett is a professor at City and one of the original Block Party organizers.

“I want to bring a fun, relaxing mood for the outdoor day,” Gossett said.

In case students needed extra activities to enjoy, the Cosmetology Department was giving free manicures and hairstyling for students.

“We offer student discounts and not a lot of people know that we have a salon here on campus,” said Leslie Cante, a cosmetology student.

The Block Party is held at the end of every semester at City College.

DJRN 200 students Sven Domingos, Rachel Finch, Luz Jaimes, Jovani Juarez, Malcolme Morgan, Uyen Pham, Lacey Stefano and Elisabeth Vermeulen contributed to this story.

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