Better parking is an improvement important to students.
Students selected at random the first week of classes shared why they chose to attend this college and what they would like to see improved.
Biology sophomore Rachel Carroll returned to college this semester. She first enrolled in 2010, but she dropped out for academic reasons.
“This campus is one of the best among the Alamo Colleges — maybe not the parking though,” she said.
She said the staff and students of this college create a university atmosphere.
“The staff of this campus are amazing, and the community of students is wonderful,” she said.
Mortuary science sophomore Crystal Puente enrolled in spring 2017 because it was the only college that offered her degree plan.
While the curriculum brought her to this college, Puente pointed to the friendly people and the warm learning environment as her favorite things about the college, a stark comparison to other colleges she has visited.
While Puente is pleased with the advantages the college offers, it does have room for improvement, mainly with parking.
“It normally takes an hour to find parking,” Puente said.
This adds to the two hours of commuting it takes to drive here from Carrizo Springs.
Theater sophomore Jacque Escobedo planned to attend Northwest Vista College but registered too late to take any of her required classes.
Following recommendations from her father and brother, both former students at this college, Escobedo enrolled in fall 2017 with the intention of transferring to Northwest Vista the next semester.
Instead, she said she loved her time at this college so much that she opted to stay.
“I became good friends with almost everybody here,” she said. “I already made connections, and in the theater world, it’s all about connections.”
Further, Escobedo enjoys the pace of the curriculum and the professors.
She said she heard some students who attend other Alamo Colleges dislike the pace of their classes and that students at this college are academically ahead.
Two things Escobedo wishes to see improved are food quality and the timing of closing off areas for construction.
“The parking, definitely,” she said. “They’re closing down that whole (area) by the courts.”
Anthropology sophomore Viviana Mena said her career goal after college is to become an anthropologist who travels abroad. She wants to uncover previously undiscovered elements of Mexican culture and history.
Her family recommended she attend Palo Alto College because it was closer to home.
“PAC didn’t have the classes I needed for my major,” she said.
Mena said Palo Alto was significantly smaller than this college and didn’t provide all the tools she needed.
An area of the college she believes needs improvement is the cafeteria in Loftin Student Center.
“The food is way too expensive,” she said.
Mena said that one of her friends had bought her ramen for lunch last semester.
“He bought it for $8, and it was basically just a bowl of noodles with sauce,” she said.
English sophomore Stephanie Larios opted for a more convenient campus location that best fit her routine.
“I like that SAC is smack in the middle of downtown, so student discounts at almost every restaurant is a nice perk,” she said.
Larios enjoys the college’s facilities.
“I can always find a good corner to study alone and (be) ‘unbothered in,’” she said.
Larios said she would like better access to faculty and staff.
“There are thousands of students that ring up those phone lines and racking up emails, but that is the one thing that has been a small problem,” she said.
Cortez Bell, radio-television-film freshman, has original music on Spotify, YouTube and iTunes.
“I produce music under the name Apollo Black on iTunes and Supreme Innovation on YouTube,” he said.
He found out about this college while trying to promote his music.
“I walked around SAC looking for people to come to my show,” he said.
Cortez found out he could finish his GED diploma through the college as well as further his music career.
Cortez said the college could help him grow as an artist.
“I like the environment it gives off, the teachers are cool and they have lots of resources and I can get involved in things,” he said.
He hopes to find ways the college can help him connect to the community.
“I would say when it comes to what I’m trying to do, I could use more open mics and places for people to showcase their talents,” he said.
Cristina Ramirez came to this college in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a teacher.
She graduated from Cornerstone High School in 2016.
“SAC has just what I want when I was looking to ease my way into college and not be too scared,” she said.
Although the college is a farther drive than her high school, she said she enjoys the college and finds “it’s a home away from home.”
Ramirez wants to go to UTSA and plans to get a master’s degree after getting a bachelor’s.
After college she wants to teach English and students with special needs.
Ramirez said she has no complaints about this college.
History freshman Wyatt Sruxness, who uses a wheelchair because he has cerebral palsy, is studying to become a teacher.
Sruxness described palsy as having only partial motion in his muscles.
“Have you ever had a charley horse? It’s something like that but all over my body,” he said.
He chose this college because it’s an easier transition from high school compared to a university.
“San Antonio College is similar in size to the high school I attended,” he said.
He also appreciates how much more comfortable he feels at this college.
“I like that the people are very friendly and very easy to communicate,” he said.
Sruxness said he hopes the college can improve the maintenance of accessibility aids.
“I would have to say that the ramps for the building are very far apart. The automatic doors need better sensors. The buttons on the Chance building do not click all the way, and I have to have someone help me click them,” he said.
Engineering sophomore Madeline Pollet’s journey to this college is one that many students can understand.
She started her college career at Texas A&M University but struggled because of panic attacks and anxiety before major exams.
“A&M didn’t provide the proper help for my mental health,” she said.
Pollet transferred to this college in the fall.
She said her goal is to graduate with an associate degree in architecture and transfer to the University of Texas at San Antonio’s civil engineering program.
She chose this college because of its architecture program and affordable tuition.
“It’s so much cheaper, and I can focus more on school work and family,” she said.
Pollet likes the central location of the college because she has enough time to take her little brother to school and still make class on time.
One area at the college she would like to see improved is to provide more ways for students to locate information on clubs.
She would be interested in a student organization devoted to engineering that works with high school students.
Dean Contreras, Travis Doyle, Mitchell Gawlik, Lilliana Guerra, Geoffrey Hovatter, Marissa Macias, Jackie Muralles and Matthew R. Perez contributed to this story.