Marylhurst Partnerships: Building a Community
by Darwin Riviere
Our university has solid partnerships with PCC, Mt. Hood Community College, the American Association of University Women, and our neighbors at Mary’s Woods. These partnerships help us expand the community of learners and educators that we live in. Broadening what we can do for our students, faculty, and alums in providing them with a holistic education.
Our partnerships with community colleges help us make school more affordable for future and current students. Double-enrollment and easier credit transfers mean that going from a community college to Marylhurst can be a smooth transition. I didn’t know about Marylhurst’s partnerships with community colleges in and surrounding Portland, but when I transferred from PCC Cascade and Sylvania in 2011, all but ten of my credits transferred with me and I hadn’t even completed my Associates transfer degree. This made the rest of my four-year degree go very quickly as there were no credits I had to retake once at M.U.
I also, upon arrival, didn’t know about our relationship with the American Association of University Women. The Lake Oswego chapter of this association puts funds towards providing a local scholarship at Marylhurst. The AAUW is committed to supporting women in higher education achieve their goals and advance in the world. I learned about our partnership with this association a few weeks ago when they invited Marylhurst students, alum, and faculty to their free speaking event where they had a chair on the Oregon Council of Civil Rights come talk about pay disparity in Oregon. The AAUW has great resources that can help folks in their journey through higher education.
When I settled into my first courses at Marylhurst, I heard folks talk about Mary’s Woods, but was not sure how our university’s connection to them manifested. Other than in being in geographical proximity. Then I began having classes with fellow learners from Mary’s Woods, who were auditing or being fully enrolled students themselves. I learned that with Marylhurst being close by, and with the efforts of faculty like Jenny Sasser on engaging our neighbors, older adults from that community felt welcome and at ease in accessing M. U. for life-long learning.
Partnerships and outreach like this foster a feeling of support and community at Marylhurst. Sometimes our school can feel very disconnected (especially if you take the bus there like I did). It can sometimes feel very far away from the city and from the people of Portland and even from Lake Oswego. But then I have the privilege of witnessing and sometimes living the experience of our partnerships. I witness how our school does outreach and truly engages with various organizations and people. Then I realize that that feeling of distance and disconnect is true only of location. That really our school—with its brilliant students, its vibrant faculty, its creative alums—does the work it needs to every day to make sure it is part of a larger, interconnected community. A community that benefits us all in our journeys through higher education.