In the summer of 2020, when many students faced semesters of virtual learning ahead, President Claudia Schrader of Kingsborough Community College, New York, U.S., wanted to find a way to welcome new students to the KCC family.
“I always wanted to be there to meet students on their first day,” she said. “Before the pandemic, I would stand at the front gate. I’m one of those administrators who walks around the campus all the time; you find me at the cafeteria, walking the halls at events. You don’t find me sequestered in my office.”
Thus, the KCC Welcome Wagon was born. Schrader has been visiting incoming freshman and transfer students—about 60 to 70 in total, she estimates—at their homes or workplaces across the five boroughs of New York City, and sometimes Long Island. She talks to them, brings them KCC swag, and even occasionally meets their families.
She’s been maintaining COVID-19 protocols: testing, meeting students outside, and wearing a mask. Had it not been for the pandemic, however, Schrader might never have had the idea.
"It’s been a time of so much loss but also so much opportunity to think outside the box,” she said. “I was thinking about students who were coming to school that fall and what they might be feeling, maybe a little lost. So I went to their homes to say welcome to Kingsborough and get to know them.”