Bay College is rare gift


I moved Escanaba in May. I’ve never felt more welcomed or more instantly a part of the life of a place. People here are real and really friendly. They think of others more than they think of themselves. They’re resilient. They respect one another. They cherish their homes, their histories, and their families.

The job that made it possible for me to move here is as a student success co-advisor at Bay College. When I accepted this job in March, I had worked in every area of higher ed — as staff, as faculty, as administration — for 16 years. But accepting a position at Bay College wasn’t about climbing a ladder or earning more money. It was about living and working in a place where the college reflects the values of its community and puts them into practice.

Many institutions say they are focused on the success of every student, and I think they really mean to be, but other things get in the way: egos, contracts, theories of practice, and politics.

The people at Bay really mean it. Whatever the job title, the people who work here do it all for students; and they’ll stop whatever they’re doing to help a student. Everyone’s a teacher, whether that’s the people who sell tickets, who serve food or who teach classes. If a student has a question or even looks like they might, someone speaks to them. They let the student know they belong here. If students are hungry, there’s food. If students want to change their major, we’re there. If a student needs more help with math, we have incredible tutors who help them, literally, from dawn to dusk. Bay isn’t just focused on making sure students succeed at school. They want students to succeed at life.

Here’s what really sets Bay apart from other institutions of higher ed: We encourage our students to learn about and grow into the career and job that is for them without asking them to surrender any of what makes them who they are.

The people at Bay don’t work here accidentally. In five months, I’ve met many people like me who chose Bay, so they could work toward one thing: Empowering students to succeed by sharing not only what is in books on the shelves but in the daily up and down life of a little town in the North where people are real and really friendly in spite, or maybe because, of hard work, bad times and long winters.

If you watch the news or are on social media, you may realize that it’s not like this everywhere. Bay students get an education here they can’t get anywhere else because there’s no other place like this.

Bay College and the people who create the experience of students who attend here are rare, gifts in the world of higher ed. And our students are phenomenal. In fact, they’re priceless.

I encourage you to vote your conscience on the 5th.

Jillena J. Rose



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