NEWS

October 17, 2019

September Highlights from the Communique Staff

Thursday Oct. 10, 2019

Instructor resigns following social media discovery

BY Denny West, Staff Writer

 Former Kirkwood Community College adjunct English instructor Jeff Klinzman’s resignation has been covered by national news outlets including Fox News and The Washington Times. 

On Aug. 22, KCRG TV-9 reporter Josh Sheinblum ran a story involving posts made by Klinzman on his personal Facebook page as well as on an Iowa Antifa site.   

Antifa stands for anti-fascist and Sheinblum defined it as “a militant leftist movement focused on physically fighting far-right and white supremacist groups.”  The story quickly came to the attention of Kirkwood’s administration when comments from the public began coming in.  

“It would have been the day after the KCRG news story,” said Kirkwood President Dr. Lori Sundberg. “We were starting to receive a lot of emails, some angry, some hostile, some implied threats either toward him or toward the institution and so we wanted to remove him from the classroom.” 

According to Klinzman, the report from KCRG disrupted his relationship with the college. “Kirkwood was a very good fit for me,” he said. “Until Josh Sheinblum came by and messed it all up… Everything blew up once the story ran.” 

In response to comments made by the public, Kirkwood reached out to Klinzman to discuss the situation.  

Sundberg explained the phone call to Klinzman.  “The call was basically to let him know that it was a safety issue for him as well as our students.  During that phone call he was provided an opportunity if he wanted to resign and he chose to take that.”  

Klinzman paints a different version of the conversation.  “I was given a choice.  That I could either resign or I was going to be terminated… There was no third option.”  

When asked if that choice was given to him, President Sundberg replied, “No.  The word ‘termination’ was never used.  What we said is that we were going to remove him from the classroom for this term.”  

On his choice to resign Klinzman said, “My decision to resign was based partly on the issue of campus safety but also partly on my aversion to being fired from a job… To me it’s preferable to resign.  So that’s why I resigned.  I knew at that point that I wasn’t coming back to campus.  I wasn’t going to be teaching this semester.” 

With safety being the main concern according to Sundberg, she also stated, “We had phone calls that came in that we didn’t know who they were from.  We did have at least one in-particular threat that came in writing with a return address that ended up not being a legitimate return address.” 

For his part, Klinzman said he isn’t accepting that safety concerns were the only reason he was given a choice between resignation and termination. 

 He referenced President Sundberg’s official statement when he said,  “She has said categorically that the content of the post was not what drove the administration’s decision making in this whole issue and I dispute that.  I don’t think that’s true.”   

Klinzman explained his reason for seeking legal representation and his desired outcome. “I don’t want to make it appear like I’m in it for the money.  That’s why I’m adamant that my preferred solution is reinstatement,” he said. 

He also spoke of his affinity for the college.  “Quite frankly, what I sorely miss about Kirkwood is the contact with the shear range of different types of students.  That’s what I really miss, the shear diversity of different folks who come to Kirkwood,” said Klinzman. 

Sundberg stated what she hopes that students and staff will get from all of this.  “What I hope they take from it is that their learning environment and their safety is of top priority for us… It’s a challenge today to balance that.  But we want to have a learning environment that’s free from disruption and where people feel safe.  At the end of the day, that’s my job, right?”

Health practitioners available to inform students

PHOTO BY Jeff Sigmund
Lydia-Polsean-Blood-Drive-Coordinator-of-Mississippi-Valley-Regional-Blood-Center-works-on-blood-typing-during-the-Health-and-Wellness-Day-in-Iowa-hall-on-Oct.-8

PHOTO BY Jeff Sigmund
Many different vendors are set up on the seconded floor of Iowa hall during the Health and Wellness day on Oct. 8.

New law allows stun guns on campus

 

BY Jessica Mcwilliams, Opinion Editor

In May, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation into law that legalizes students’ ability to carry stun guns on all community college campuses and state universities. 

The law went into effect on July 1. There is a difference between tasers and stun guns. A taser has projectiles that can be used from a distance, while a stun gun must make contact to work. Under the Iowa law only the stun gun is legal on campus.  

Kirkwood Community College Campus Resource Officer Landon Einck said he believes that “the new law will make the campus safer. Kirkwood is already a very safe campus, there are very few calls that I respond to but this may give peace of mind to students especially female student or students with night classes and I am all for that.”

PHOTO BY Jeff Sigmund
Stun guns come in many different sizes and shapes, this is just one of the examples.

Einck stated that using a stun gun for anything other than an emergency situation can lead to expulsion from campus and criminal charges. S

The law still excludes reformed felons from possessing a stun gun on campus. Carrying a stun gun is not allowed in sporting stadiums or hospitals and it is also up to the student to store and handle their stun gun safely.

The new law does not change the existing law 724.4 that does not allow anyone unauthorized to carry a concealed gun or openly carry a gun on state university or K-12 school property, even with a permit to carry weapons.  

In regard to the law change, Madison Pinckney, dental assisting, stated, “If you feel that you need it to protect yourself, I think it’s ok.”

Karly Bandy, associate of science, said, “I feel that it is similar to pepper spray but also more dangerous.”

Most self-defense experts and law enforcement personnel, like Einck stress the importance of situational awareness like not walking outside at night with ear buds in to avoid even needing to defend yourself. 

Einck said some additional safety tips include  walk in groups or call security at night for an escort, stay on well-lit paths, avoid trees and obstacles an assailant may hide behind and keep your distance from someone walking toward you. 

He added that when it comes to safety, be loud. There is no shame in staying alive. Leave night classes in groups and park in well-lit areas.  

 

Spirit of Progress and Collaboration Guide Improvements

BY James Dykeman – News Editor

Beginning at the end of the fall semester, significant changes will begin across the main campus that will continue for two years, as Kirkwood Community College works to complete the construction of a new Student Life center as well as changes to existing offices and operations around campus. 

The changes within this expansive renovation project began almost two years ago, when meetings were held with students, faculty, staff, architects and designers on how to spend the $60 million bond fund to improve the experience for everyone at Kirkwood, according to Jon Buse, vice president of Student Services at Kirkwood.  

“The way that the plan came to fruition was based around the expectations of students and staff,” said Buse. “The vision that this came out of came out of a two-year study from the institution called “The Foundations of Excellence” that led to an action plan that was geared toward student success.” 

Models of the three-level building were then created for students to be able to move offices and spaces around to show where they would like to see things go. 

“For example, students would show us where they wanted to see The Café, Advising and Enrollment offices go. These were really heady decisions that students helped with a lot,” said Buse. 

The renovation plan was more than just an exercise in planning and soliciting feedback. 

According to Buse, “A number of people had this vision that we could actually create this community here and in part give students a place to call theirs and also give the college a place to exhibit and celebrate the work of the students.” 

As part of that vision, Buse and his team asked themselves to honestly answer what the big challenges were for students.

A concept photo showing the placement of the “Hands of a Bricklayer” speech on campus.

Buse said he found that Kirkwood “has a problem with wayfinding and communication and needs to cultivate more opportunities to expand on shared learning experiences like the Sustainability Club…we are also very diverse from a student perspective here and we don’t effectively acknowledge that diversity or effectively support it.”  

These findings led the process of designing a space that would achieve the educational and student traffic management goals but the biggest emphasis was on bringing together the many groups that call Kirkwood home. 

“Perhaps the most powerful thing that impacts student success is the power of peer interaction. Research has continually shown that perhaps the most powerful thing that impacts student success is the interaction of diverse peer groups. Naturally, we are a very diverse place, there is ethnic, age, parenting, veterans, religious, academic, social and political diversity. If we think about the broad definition of diversity, what we see from a design standpoint of this building is how to bring those groups together in a meaningful way,” Buse explained.   

According to Buse, the philosophy that is at the heart of these changes is rooted in a speech in 1967 by Kirkwood’s founding board chair Bud Jensen, delivered to the Iowa legislature, who said, “These are the hands of a bricklayer. They are calloused and hard but they have given both me and my family an excellent living. Would you deny these hands or the hands of my children and other children throughout the state the right or opportunity to read a good book? To caress a book of poetry or to learn something about higher math?” 

Buse continued, “Everybody who goes to school should be able to have a broader educational experience. 

Our planning has in some ways involved [Bud’s] words. This is more than a building project, this is an opportunity for Kirkwood to have more of those out of classroom experiences that are academic…while at the same time having a great space to have a cheeseburger, catch a concert, take a nap, meet with an advisor. All those things can happen in one space.” 


Students collaborate on the placement and location of organizations and offices in the new student center.
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

Cafe closing at end of December

BY James Dykeman, Managing Editor

On Dec. 13, 2019, at the close of the fall semester, The Café will be closing for renovations and will not be reopening for two years. Students will be able to find more information about what food options will be available and where to find them, in addition to concerns about why these changes are coming and questions about how the renovation project will affect them going forward, in communications from Student Services.  

The Café plans to be open and offering all currently available items right up until they bring down the gate on their final day, according to Jon Buse, Vice President of Student Services. Taking the place of The Café once it closes will be food stations available in the book store and as needed on campus. Regarding concerns about the availability of hot food and fresh vegetables, the stations will be serving “a combination of things that you can warm up yourself and are available hot, along with prepacked salads and snacks”, said Buse. Linn Hall will be the primary location for food service, with the book store being a quick stop for students in nearby buildings.  

PHOTO BY Jeff Sigmund

The Cafe, which serves the dining needs of students and faculty across the main campus will be closing on Dec. 13 so that the space can renovated. Plans for alternative dining options will be available in the book store and Linn Hall.

Those who have purchased meal plans in the past will be informed prior to the start of the next semester as to what their options and costs will be. Students with ideas for food can reach out and are encouraged to be flexible as the project evolves. “I believe that food service is open to feedback. My expectation of the overall project, as service providers to the students, is that we’re going to have to try some things out and see what works”, Buse said. 

According to Buse, every attempt has been made to address concerns about convenience and accessibility to services during the renovation process, and a lot of thought has already gone in to how this will affect the daily lives of students at the main campus. “This project is something that I have helped lead and is going to be transformational for Kirkwood students. Our planning has been…how will we make the experience as positive as possible for students? Our goal is to minimize that impact…and do everything that we can to make that experience as positive as possible”, Buse stated. 

Students were involved in the decision-making process from the very beginning so that changes such as the Café renovation and the availability of food stations were made with the best interests of students at heart. “What’s important as we have led this, is the more inclusive and collaborative approach that we took, meeting with more than thirty groups of students of different ages, races, programs, remote and on-campus, to guide in our decision making” Buse explained.  

While the challenges of the renovation may affect every student in some way, the “end result will be worth the wait”, as the new Café and the student life center that surrounds it, will be designed with a positive student experience at the heart of the project. “I see this ultimately as a space that makes sense to students, where they have ownership and a place of their own, as a true student union would have”, Buse concluded.     

Students are encouraged to share their ideas or concerns with Jon Buse directly at Jon.Buse@kirkwood.edu and to check the renovations page regularly for general questions and updates at https://www.kirkwood.edu/renovations.  

 

Renovation changes continue on campus

BY Juana Jones, Editor-in-Chief

Since the summer of 2019, Kirkwood Community College has been working on renovations across campus. This is a result of a $60 million bond that passed in 2017 which allowed the college to start making changes on campus to improve the learning environment.

 The four main places of focus were the Michael J Gould Recreation Center (Rec Center), the Automotive Technology Center, Washington Hall and the construction of a new center of student life. 

At this time, the Rec Center and Automotive Technology Center have already been completed. Washington Hall has an expected completion date in December 2020. The Student Center, however, is not slated for completion until Fall 2022, and according to Kirkwood Community College President Dr. Lori Sundberg, will be “space where all students feel welcome and included, where they feel comfortable to hang out  and interact with people who are and are not like them.”  

The final plans will be sent for approval this November. Construction will then begin in January 2020. Iowa Hall and the Mansfield Center will be closed during this time, and remain down throughout the duration of the project. 

The departments currently located there will be relocated across campus. This includes, but is not limited to, Student Life, the Dean of Students Office, Counseling Services and admissions.  

Most of these are being moved to their new locations in November but some will be moved prior to or after. The only parking that will be closed to students, staff and faculty according to Justin Hoehn Associate Director of Marketing, will be the “top tier level of the parking lot closest to the Mansfield Center (located to the southwest of the building) will be closed… in addition, occasionally the small parking lot at the bottom of the hill located in between Linn Hall and the bookstore will need to be closed for delivery of materials.”  

Students can view artist renderings on Kirkwood’s website  to see what the new Student Life Center and other facilities will look like upon completion of construction. For more information on the upcoming renovations and updates as they occur please visit www.kirkwood.edu/renovations.

Fight against human trafficking comes to Kirkwood

 

BY Alexis Haggstrom, Sports Editor

PHOTO BY Jeff Sigmund

Singer and songwriter David Zach gives a presentation on Human Trafficking in Ballantyne Auditorium on Sept. 19.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, musician David Zach, an advocate in the fight against human trafficking, spoke in Ballantyne Auditorium of his experiences using music to raise awareness about the more than 45 million people today who have been forced into that way of life. 

Zach is the front-man of a band called Remedy Drive. He said he had been researching human trafficking prior to being approached by Matt Parker, co-founder of The Exodus Road, a non-profit organization that fights human trafficking. Parker was looking for a band to be a platform for the work that was being done. 

“I was writing a counter-trafficking themed album anyways, so when I met somebody that was doing the work, I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to be singing about this. I want to do it, too,’” said Zach.  

According to Zach, becoming active in a cause like this is called intervention. It is the first step in a three-part plan to help combat human trafficking. That is where Zach came in as an opposition to those running brothels and taking advantage of children and adults trapped in that oppresive environment. Zach said he intervenes as an undercover volunteer with The Exodus Road. 

Zach explained that his role was to enter a brothel and subtly communicate with a worker if they are underage or do not want to be there. He asked them if they weren’t there, what they would like to do instead.  

“It’s hard to leave girls stuck in it because we can’t just run with them. That’s traumatizing,” said Zach. 

PHOTO BY Jeff Sigmund

Some of the apparel which was offered for purchase during activity hour on Sept.19.

Following rescue, the next step is rehabilitation. During his speech, Zach shared a video of himself visiting Rapha House with his family, a non-profit organization that not only rescues children from trafficking, but also provides the tools to rehabilitate them by teaching helpful skills and providing an outlet for creativity.  

The final step is prevention. Prevention goes hand-in-hand with awareness.  

“I feel like people are more aware today than what they were in 2012,” said Zach, who began speaking seven years ago. “There’s people taking small actions, which is my goal…because I’m not convinced that any of us are going to fix it on our own.” 

For more information visit theexodusroad.com. 

 

Presidential hopeful vows gun reform and debt relief

BY Jessica Mcwilliams, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Presidential Candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., hosted a campaign rally at Kirkwood Community College ahead of Iowa caucuses on Sept. 19. With less than 140 days until the caucuses, Harris made her first of several stops in Iowa. 

Harris spoke about her plans for the presidency, including giving Congress 100 days to write a bill requiring universal background checks and revoking the license of gun dealers who fail to comply with federal regulations and banning the importation of assault rifles. 

Harris stated, “We are not waiting any longer for change.” 

Harris also stated that she would push for the country to use renewable energy sources by 2030. Harris did focus on how the Green New Deal would not only benefit Iowa but Kirkwood students specifically by pushing for a green economy and the use of renewable resources and clean energy. 

Kirkwood offers programs that teach installation and maintenance of wind turbines. Iowa is the leading producer of wind energy in the United States.  

PHOTO BY Jeff Sigmund
Sen. Kamala Harris speaks of her plans for Social Security if she is elected president.

Harris brought up several points regarding how the pay teachers across the country receive is substandard in comparison to equal educated professionals. 

Harris stated that she would like to give an average national pay raise to public school teachers of about $13,000 per year along with about a $6,000 nationwide middle-class tax cut. 

Harris also mentioned that she would like to make community college free to attend and public college debt free through tax cuts. In addition, Harris said she would like people to “invest in the strength of our nation’s commonalties while excepting our differences.”  

Other than a brief mention of an increase of taxes to the richest 1% of Americans, Harris did not mention details about a plan to balance the budget or to afford the proposed pay increases.

The heat is on at annual CITA-Kirkwood Fire School

PHOTOS BY Jeff Sigmund

THURSDAY, SEPT.12, 2019

Phi Theta Kappa honors project 

Phi Theta Kappa member Laurel Sherman, left, runs a table with a fellow member during the Club Cookout located in Iowa Hall on Sept. 10.

Photo By Jeff Sigmund

 

BY Juana Jones, Editor-In-Chief

 

Every year Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) hosts two honors projects for students to take part in.

 One is a mentoring program where international students get the chance to be teamed up with local students to help them become acclimated to the Cedar Rapids area and American culture.  

This program started two years ago and had eight pairs of international and American students and has grown since. This year their goal is to have at least a dozen pairs of students. All students are welcome to become a mentor and to help with the project. 

There are several reasons why students should be a mentor, according to Laurel Sherman, Student Life representative for Phi Theta Kappa and Liberal Arts student. “The main reason besides it does look good on a resume is that you can gain a lot of knowledge,” she said. 

Sherman also said what they are looking for in a mentor. “ People who are familiar with Kirkwood, who have been here a year or at least a semester and want to be social with people not from the same country they are,” said Sherman. 

The main expectation of pairs is to meet at least once every two weeks. 

Some examples of activities the pairs could do include going to games, intramurals and the movies. The honors project will extend from now until Thanksgiving break. After that, it will be up to the pairs to decide if they want to continue or not.  

PTK will be holding a meeting on Sept. 12 in 304 Benton Hall during activity hour (11:15 a.m. -12:10 p.m.) to start introducing groups. For more information, contact Laurel Sherman at laurel-sherman@student.kirkwood.edu 

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019

New coach takes the helm of championship team

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
Men’s Head Basketball Coach Tim Sandquist

BY Juana Jones, Editor-In-Chief

 

On May 29, Tim Sandquist was hired to be the Kirkwood Community College’s men’s head basketball coach, replacing former head coach Bryan Peterson. Sandquist is from Northwest Kansas Tech where he coached for eight years.     

Q: What has your experience at Kirkwood been like so far? 

A: It has been good. I am very fortunate to be here. The people have been great and I have a great aiding from Athletic Director Doug Wagemester and I am just fortunate to be here. 

Q: Why did you leave your previous job in Kansas to come to Kirkwood?  

A: Kirkwood’s name and tradition around the Midwest in the basketball community is second to none. I was extremely fortunate to be selected out of a group of talented candidates. We are very grateful to Wagemester and the community for selecting me. 

It was an opportunity to take over a program coming off a historic session. Jobs like that do not come around very often. I think a lot of those factors came into it for why I took this job.

Q: Have you met the team yet and what do you think about them? 

A: We met during the interview process and were able to get together in June and play in a new life period for junior colleges and we have been playing pickup games and lifting in the weight room. 

The group is as advertised. We have 11 returning players from a national championship season, which is rare. We have some great guys that value winning and what goes into that.

Q: What would you like to see in the upcoming season? 

A: I want to see us be competitive and care for each other’s success. I want to see us be one group and one unit. From a play standpoint, I want to see us be the best defensive team in the conference and the best rebounding team in the conference. 

I want people to see a fun but tough-minded group of guys who represent Kirkwood the right way.   

Q: What is your favorite part about coaching basketball?  

A: The relationships that you form with your players. That is why I’m in it. It’s not just about winning games it is so much more that goes into it and so many more important things that go into it than just winning games.

 It’s developing relationships with your players that will last 20 years down the road. Once they leave Kirkwood they will be a better student, a basketball player and a better man.  

Q: What is something people do not know about you but should? 

A: I come across as being laid back and easy-going but I’m actually a very competitive person who wants to win at everything I do. Off the court, I’m a nice guy but once I step between those lines, I mean business.  

Q: What are your plans to promote the basketball team?

A: The biggest thing we can do to promote is win. Four year colleges love guys who come from winning programs. That is the biggest thing have a successful season. 

On top of that we will use the contacts we have in the basketball community to reach out to guys we have relationships with and say “we think you should recruit these guys.” 

In October we will go to three jamborees Ames Iowa, Denver Colorado and Rockford Illinois to play at exposer events for our guys, and get there name out there. So we do a lot of things but ultimately in this day and age of social media its so easy to we use social media, twitter account and things like that to promote us. 

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019

Campus food pantry helps hundreds of students

 

BY David Stephanie, Staff Writer

BY Juana Jones, Editor-In-Chief

 

Kirkwood Community College has several departments and groups to help ensure student success. However, Kirkwood also helps students with their nutritional by offering food and other supplies at the campus food pantry. 

Dean of Students Melissa Payne said, “There are certain types of things that support their academics generally, and we want to encourage them to think of the ways that nutrition and the food pantry are a part of their academic success.”  

The food pantry receives most of its supplies from the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP).  In addition to HACAP, the food pantry receives help from organizations on campus. One organization is the Seeds club which supplies fresh produce farmed by current students.  During the 2018-2019 school year the food pantry helped 914 students and was visited 2,050 times, according to the Dean of Students Office.

Outside of food, the pantry hands out free coats during winter months. They also give out personal hygiene items like shampoo and conditioner when in stock. 

Payne said, students can get supplies from the pantry once a week. When a student comes, they will need to know their k number and password to check-in. 

Payne also said, “The reason for a visit does not have to be a crisis. It could be ‘I just want to check this place out.’”  

Also, the food pantry gives advice and outreach help for services they are unable to provide. 

Support Services Supervisor Mialisa Wright said they help students contact other organizations to help with what they cannot provide. 

Some of these resources include, “homeless and students who are homeless… needing help with paying for heating (utilities) bill,” said Wright.

For more information on the services the food pantry offers, students should stop by the food pantry, 132 Iowa Hall. Students can also contact mialisa.wright@kirkwood.edu

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019

Apparel merchandising

launches magazine

Bricolage, the new Apparel Merchandising magazine’s front cover.

Photo by Jeff Sigmund

 

BY Alexis Haggstrom, Sports Editor

 

The Kirkwood Community College Apparel Merchandising program held a launch party on Sept. 9 in Nielson Hall to celebrate a new addition; the magazine, Bricolage.  

 The launch edition is 73 pages of sustainable fashion. Sustainability was a huge factor for the content of the magazine. The project had no outside funding and was produced from pieces of the community.  

“This project was a dream I had,” said Elisha Stanley, apparel merchandising and design instructor.  

 Kirkwood student Matthew von Schenkel is the editor-in-chief and head photographer of the magazine. Kirkwood student Morgane Jambor is the co-editor. Both were the focus of Monday night’s launch. 

 Jambor is new to the apparel merchandising program having joined last spring whereas von Schenkel is nearly through the program.  

 The magazine has been in motion since the spring of 2018. Jambor got involved in July while von Schenkel was pulled in later. 

 “This launch edition is to try to get the attention of people for the magazine. It doesn’t have to be fashion apparel students…It’s more toward the creative side of Kirkwood,” said Jambor. 

 Some of the guests at the launch included models featured in the first issue as well as Dean of Business and Information Technology Colette Atkins.  

 “It just makes me so proud of our faculty and students to see their passion for something, but these students are doing so much more than what they’re supposed to do,” said Atkins. 

 The launch party also attracted Sherry Swanson, a former instructor with the program and her husband, John Swanson, who sits on the Board of Trustees for Kirkwood.  

 All guests united to support the magazine and the passion it grew from. Such passion is clear when the editor-in-chief discussed how he grew to love fashion. 

 “When I figured out what it meant and how much you’re telling people with your outfit and what your outfit can mean; that’s when I really fell in love with fashion…It’s one of those things you can’t not participate in,” said von Schenkel. 

 As for the co-editor, she was more excited about allowing other people to see her work. 

 “For me, I love this project but I’ve seen it since the beginning. Seeing everyone’s reactions to it is really exciting,” said Jambor. 

 The second issue of the magazine is set for May. Both Jambor and Stanley hope to involve other majors, specifically graphic design and interior design, with the project. 

Plenty of Shade to Go Around

BY Christina Uptain, Co-Managing Editor

 

PHOTO BY CHRISTINA UPTAIN

Therapy dog Shade interacts with students in Cedar Hall on April 12. PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN UPTAIN, CO-MANAGING EDITOR

 

 

At 162 pounds, the Kirkwood Community College therapy dog can still get much bigger. Shade, a Great Dane who will turn one year old on May 9, isn’t done growing and certainly is anything but an average puppy.

Sociology professor and Shade’s owner Alissa King has been preparing him since she first got him last summer. As his owner, handler and trainer, King has spent many hours grooming him to take his official therapy dog certification once he has reached his first birthday. “The dogs have to be at least one year old to test, so depending on when PetPartners announces the testing date, Shade will either be able to go in May or wait until June,” King said.

“Shade will be tested on a variety of skills to earn his official therapy dog certification, including obedience, how is he with a crowd, things such as if someone was to hug him tightly or hold onto him like a child may, how is he around another dog… they also look at grooming, his overall health and how we act as a team,” King continued.

“It has been such an awesome experience and is amazing how he has been received, not only on campus but also in the community. We have been to a variety of places including regional centers, an elementary school in Marion and Methwick… he has quite the social calendar,” King stated.

In fact, Shade is so popular that if all goes according to plan, King said she and her family will welcome a second Great Dane puppy in a few months. “We are working with a different breeder this time and a litter is due May 15, so we are waiting to see what happens there. If it works out, we will get another male Great Dane and start the whole process over with him. I will start bringing the new puppy on campus in July the fall, he will rotate with Shade so we can meet the needs of campus and the community, plus give them both the rest they need,” King announced.

Many studies have shown how interaction with animals is beneficial and different species have been used for therapy in the workplace, hospitals, long-term care facilities and schools.

“We go to the nursing department before their exams and we are going to be in the library on May 2 during activity hour. We have some availability including the week before and week of finals so if anyone wants a visit from us, they are welcome to get a hold of me to set something up. We will also be on campus during the first six weeks of the summer session and at all of the orientations so we are going to be around if students, faculty or staff should need us,” King said.

“He has succeeded in every situation I have put him in and it is so great to see his personality develop and how much he enjoys being around people. We do very well together and I am very proud of him,” King beamed.

When he is not at a scheduled event, Shade is walking the hallways making new friends, accompanying King to class or resting in her office. To schedule a date and time to visit with Shade, e-mail alissa.king@kirkwood.edu