‘Bike Friendly’ Award Positions Montgomery as Community College Leader

by Alana J. Mauger, Think Green Editor

BFU bronze_14-18 copyAfter two years on the honorable mention list, Montgomery County Community College  joins Santa Monica College as the first community colleges in the country to achieve the bronze Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) designation from the League of American Bicyclists.

“As an institution, we focused on specific areas of improvement and added bike-related services over the last three years to take the next step in being a Bicycle Friendly University,” said Gregg Heimer, a senior network engineer who also serves as the College’s Bike Advocacy Committee chair. “We are extremely proud to be recognized for our biking leadership and advocacy at the community college level.”

Last year, Heimer and fellow Montgomery cyclists formed a Bike Advocacy Committee that works with the institution’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council to promote biking safety and best practices. The group organizes weekend rides—including participation in the 2014 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly and National Bike Challenge—as well as films and exhibits at both of the College’s campuses.

The group, which includes representation from the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF), also works with the College’s facilities and public safety teams to map out optimal bike routes, include bike mounts on the transportation shuttle that operates between campuses, and establish bicycle maintenance facilities.

“Looking forward, we hope to increase biking awareness through local partnerships, improve upon our community infrastructure to urge bike commuting on campus, and become a role model for similar community colleges across the country,” said Heimer, who is an avid cyclist and Ironman tri-athlete.

Montgomery’s Bicycle Advocacy Committee is already hard at work on its goals for the 2014-15 academic year. These include partnering with local bike shops for cycling skills classes; establishing bicycle rack standardization across campuses; helping to facilitate monthly student bike rides in coordination with the student-run Adventure Club; and adopting a bicycle policy for inclusion in student handbooks. The group also hopes to enhance its web presence with additional biking resources and to make bike routes accessible on mobile devices.

“Once bicycle riding becomes the norm here, our students will expect, and perhaps demand, bicycle friendly facilities at their transfer institutions and even in their home communities,” shared Heimer.

In addition, because a significant portion of the College’s carbon footprint comes from commuter emissions, increased bike riding will help Montgomery reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

While the College is engaged in bicycle improvements and initiatives across all of its campuses, the West Campus—located in a downtown business district by the western trailhead of the Schuylkill River Trail—is especially ideal for biking. In fact, students, faculty and staff can take advantage of Bike Pottstown’s free community bike share program, with several bikes available for loan onsite at the Schuylkill River Academic and Heritage Center.

Montgomery County Community College joins 100 Bike Friendly Universities in 37 states and Washington D.C., including nine of the top 10 national universities in the country as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. MCCC was among the first community colleges to apply for BFU status two years ago, and became among the first to achieve it on Oct. 22, 2014 along with Santa Monica College in California.

Visit mc3.edu/about-us/directions-and-maps for biking maps of the College’s Central and West campuses.

Montgomery County Community College's 2014 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly team.

Montgomery County Community College’s 2014 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly team.

VIDEO: Study Abroad with Montgomery County Community College

Learn about Study Abroad opportunities this summer through Montgomery County Community College! The first Study Abroad meeting for summer 2015 will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 29 from 12:20-1 p.m. in Parkhouse Hall 340 at the Central Campus. Additional meetings will be held Nov. 10, Nov. 21, and Dec. 3 at the same time and location. Stay tuned for information about meetings at the West Campus. For more info, email StudyAbroad@mc3.edu.

Learn the Ins and Outs of Owning a Restaurant

by Diane VanDyke

Harris Eckstut

Harris Eckstut

If you ever dreamed of owning and operating your own restaurant or even investing in one, it’s time to enroll in “The Dollars & Sense of Owning a Restaurant,” a new course offered this fall at The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, 1400 Forty Food Road, Lansdale.

This two-session course—held Wednesdays, Nov. 12 and 19, 6-9 p.m., for only $125—will be taught by 30-plus year restaurateur/consultant Harris Eckstut, who owned and operated the landmark MontSerrat Restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia.

To register for the course, visit mc3.edu/culinary or call 215-641-6486.

Drawing upon his many entrepreneurial accomplishments, Eckstut will share his invaluable insight and in-depth knowledge in a lively and engaging format.

According to one recent class attendee, and longtime restaurateur, “. . . Harris Eckstut is outstanding. He is the most knowledgeable restaurant consultant I have met in my career in Philadelphia. His lecture was a tour de force. In a low-key fashion, he covered a great amount of information…”

Another grateful attendee shared this thank you note: “The information you gave us was beyond useful, and now we have a more realistic perspective about the business.”

As the owner of Eckstut Restaurant Consulting, Eckstut offers his professional services, including leasing and development, sales and purchases, and operational analysis and planning for the independent or prospective restaurant owner. He also evaluates business plans, operations and budgets for lenders, investors, developers, and community organizations.

Greg Vernick, Chef/Owner, Vernick Food & Drink in Philadelphia says, “Vernick Food & Drink would not be as successful without the help of Harris Eckstut.”

Similarly, Connie Correia, owner of the Pop Shop in Collingswood, New Jersey,” adds, “Harris took us by the hand and taught us all the things about the restaurant business that we didn’t even know we didn’t know! Because of him, we are still in business and now thriving instead of floundering.”

In addition to owning the MontSerrat Restaurant for 25 years, Eckstut’s clients include the award-winning Vernick Food & Drink, Circles Thai, Sang Kee, Le Virtu, 320 Market Café and Green Line Café, among others, as well as lenders, investors, landlords, attorneys, community development organizations, and developers.

About the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County

The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College is the region’s home for innovative, affordable culinary arts education and training. The Culinary Arts program includes both associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit culinary enthusiast and professional development course offerings. In fall 2013, our new 15,000-square-foot facility for our growing Culinary Arts program opened its doors at 1400 Forty Foot Road, Lansdale, in Towamencin Township, where it is conveniently located near the Blue Route (I-476) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The new facility features four state-of-the-art kitchens and equipment, three SMART classrooms and a retail café/bakeshop where students can develop real-world food preparation and customer service skills. For more information about the Culinary Arts Institute, visit mc3.edu/culinary or call 267-646-5970.

You can find The Culinary Arts Institute on Facebook and on Twitter.

VIDEO: ‘The Buzz Update,’ Week of 10/20

Check out “The Buzz Update” for the week of Oct. 20, 2014. The program is student produced by the Communicating Arts Production Group (CAPG) at Montgomery County Community College.

Lively Arts Series Features Acclaimed American Jazz/Pop Singer, Pianist Diane ‘Deedles’ Schuur

by Lauren Somers

Photos by LaniAs part of Montgomery County Community College’s Lively Arts season, American jazz/pop singer, pianist and Grammy Award winner Diane “Deedles” Schuur will perform songs from her wide-ranging catalog on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $38. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for more information and tickets.

Blind since birth but blessed with perfect pitch and the ability to play piano by ear, Schuur has built a solid following by embracing traditional and contemporary jazz, pop, country and rhythm and blues.

“As far back as I can remember, singing was in my blood,” she recalls. “My parents loved music, and I loved to sing. I was scatting at an early age. I was determined to succeed at what I wanted to do. I wasn’t going to let my disability stand in my way.”

Throughout a distinguished career that has earned her two Grammy Awards and three additional nominations, she has recorded nearly two dozen albums over the past three decades―including her latest, “I Remember You: With Love to Stan and Frank,” which pays homage to mentors Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra. She has toured the world, headlined at Carnegie Hall and The White House, and collaborated with an incredibly diverse cross-section of musical greats, from B.B. King, Ray Charles and the Count Basie Orchestra to Barry Manilow, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss.

Other performers in this year’s Lively Arts season include Afro-Caribbean jazz trombonist Papo Vázquez on Nov. 22; master guitarist Lionel Loueke on Jan. 24; Grammy-winning jazz-soul fusion artist Gregory Porter on Feb. 8; Thelonious Monk Competition winner Cécile McLorin Salvant on Feb. 21; Latin American folkloric and jazz musician Miguel Zenón on March 21; and legendary harmonica player Grégoire Maret on April 18.

The College’s Lively Arts programs have connected the community for more than a quarter century. In addition to performances from internationally acclaimed artists, each season features a Young Arts Explorers series; student choral, jazz ensemble, guitar, dance and theater performances; the Presidential Symposium and Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Peace and Social Justice; and the Betzwood Film Festival. Most Lively Arts events are held at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, with selected events held offsite or at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown. Tickets can be purchased individually or as part of a season subscription. Season subscription benefits include premium guaranteed seating and savings on regular ticket prices.

For more information, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts, email livelyarts@mc3.edu or call the Box Office at 215-641-6518. Follow the College’s “Destination Arts” page on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts.

Celebrate Campus Sustainability Day With Art, Essays, Info

by Alana J. Mauger

Campus Sustain Day 14

2014 Campus Sustainability Day logo by contest winner Karim Abdelgawad

Montgomery County Community College will join hundreds of colleges and universities across the country to celebrate Campus Sustainability Day 2014 with activities on Oct. 21 and 22, as well as through a collaborate art project and short essay contest.

In its 12th year, Campus Sustainability Day is designed to create awareness and facilitate discussion between students, faculty, staff and the community at large. The 2014 CSD theme is “Empowering Change on Campus and in the Community.”

This year, MCCC will hold two days of CSD activities:  Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in the South Hall Lobby at the College’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, and Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Center of the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The Oct. 22 event coincides with a Sustainability Career Day for high school students, presented by Communities in Motion, a foundation of the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF).

Both events will feature informational and interactive exhibits on a variety of “green” topics, including the Green Office Initiative, RecycleMania, Solar and Wind energy, Shuttle transportation program, Zimride, refillable dry erase markers and much more. The Central Campus event will also feature information on water bottle fill stations and a special exhibit of hybrid and electric vehicles in partnership with Conicelli Auto Group.

To commemorate the College’s 50th Anniversary and to create awareness about reusing and recycling common objects, participants are asked to donate unwanted items for a “found object” art project. These items will be mounted onto a four-foot board in the shape of MCCC’s 50th Anniversary logo. Found object items can include would-be-discarded plastic, metal, wood, cardboard, rubber, fabric and glass; writing instruments; CDs; bottle caps; shoe laces; computer parts; utensils; brushes; photos; jewelry and much more! While the possibilities are almost infinite, items that are perishable, soiled, or otherwise inappropriate will not be included. All individuals donating pieces to the project will be entered into a drawing for a free Think Green sweatshirt. Materials will be collected at both campuses.

Members of the College community are also invited to submit short essays describing a sustainable practice in which they engage and why it’s important to them. The deadline for submission is Oct. 31. All entries will be published on the College’s Think Green blog for a two week voting period. The author of the essay with the most votes will also receive a free Think Green sweatshirt, and the essay will be featured as part of the College’s 2015 Earth Day celebration. Essays should be emailed to communications@mc3.edu.

In addition to green specific activities, individuals are encouraged to donate gently used winter coats to benefit the Cluster Outreach Center in Pottstown and non-perishable breakfast items to benefit the College’s Stock Up for Success food pantry for students in need.

The College is also asking community members to get involved by tweeting ways they are going green with the hash tag #ThinkBigGreen.  Responses tweeted by Oct. 31 with the hashtag will be compiled and posted to the College’s Think Green blog!