A campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of community colleges has been attracting a lot of attention on social media. Steve Robinson, the president of Perrysburg, Ohio-based Owens Community College, unveiled the #EndCCStigma hashtag campaign in February and has been inspired by the results: the effort has not only brought together Ohio’s community colleges but also gone national.
Building a more accurate perception
“There really is a stigma against community colleges,” Robinson told The Associated Press. “It doesn’t have anything to do with our quality. This negative perception isn’t from people reacting to bad experiences. It’s just ignorance. We’re going to have to confront the stigma directly to change it. The goal is to build a more accurate perception of the quality of community colleges.”
The hashtag campaign features the success stories of students from around the nation who have attended community college, including those who eventually transferred to four-year institutions. Robinson also has traveled across the U.S., recording podcasts in which students tell how community college has changed their lives for the better. Along the way, Robinson hopes to debunk stereotypes that community colleges aren’t as rigorous as their four-year counterparts or that credits won’t transfer.
“We need to come together and address these assumptions and change perception,” Robinson said in a recent video featuring voices from 18 of Ohio’s 23 community colleges. “We’re not going to change our name. We’re going to change your mind.”