School spirit sporadic among AACC students


AACC Riverhawks like second-year creative writing student Rani Jenkins show their school spirit by wearing the Riverhawks logo on their clothing.

Bethany Probst, Reporter

AACC students said in March that they feel proud to be Riverhawks.

In an informal poll of 35 students on the Arnold campus, 29 said they’re happy with their choice to attend community college, while six called the experience less than “exciting.”

“I’ve saved a lot of money and I’ve changed my major like, two times,” said third-year nursing student Deborah Athens. “At the end of the day, you’re taking classes and they’re going to transfer to four-year schools. … Just because you’re super smart or getting good grades doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to a community college.”

Still, second-year archaeology student Gabby Rapine said community college wasn’t her first choice.

“In a way I felt like I was missing out because all of my other friends, besides three or four of them, were going to four-year universities,” Rapine said. “They were going off to the big schools.”

But Rapine said she might not have been able to go to college at all if she hadn’t enrolled here.

“I never really knew if college was going to be an option for me [because] of financial reasons,” Rapine said. “So I was very excited to go to a community college.”

Some students, like second-year business management and entrepreneurship student Immanuel Patton, said community college gives students a good foundation.

“I feel proud to go here because I feel like you get more bare opportunities here,” Patton said.

“For me as a business major, it’s more [about] the opportunities I can get and more networking situations I can do.”

Patton said students can get more help at a two-year college compared with a four-year school.

“If I went to a university … I’m competing with people who have been there longer or they got a full ride,” Patton said.

Dan Baum, AACC’s executive director of strategic communications, said he has observed that Riverhawks  show their school spirit, even off campus.

“Nearly half of all college students in Maryland attend community colleges,” Baum said. “That says to me that people recognize the value of community colleges. It’s in the numbers.”

Baum added he has seen students celebrating the college, even outside of Anne Arundel County.

“I see Riverhawk stickers, T-shirts and sweatshirts all over,” Baum said.

Still, in a review of 40 student Instagram accounts, 32 showed no sign that they attend AACC. The other eight mentioned their affiliation in social media biographies, photos or posts.

Brittany Greene, a second-year nursing student, said she chooses not to broadcast anything about AACC.

Greene said she doesn’t focus on her time at AACC much because it’s only a precursor to another college.

“I’m in this mindset of [of] this is not where I’m going to end up, so it’s not really worth sharing,” Greene said.

Greene said some people view her differently for not making it into a university right out of high school and attending a community college instead.

“[There’s] this stigma behind it that AACC is like, [students] are going to be there for years and they’re not motivated,” Greene said.