Pioneering forward with our community engaged in our success

Published: 10/1/2018 10:39:13 AM

Until I started researching Greenfield Community College, I had never heard of the term “silver tsunami.” It refers to high proportions of baby boomers and “silent generation” members in the Pioneer Valley. I began to understand the silver tsunami once I started reading reports of the number of seniors across the Valley who take a range of courses at GCC. Spending time in the community, people often come to me and share how much they love the courses we offer and the opportunities for forging new friendships and engaging with old friends.

Perhaps my best experience involving the silver tsunami comes from the 5AM YMCA unofficial swim group. Come after 5:30 and all the prime parking spots are already vanished. I recently joined this group of retired early risers and they help kick off my day with a healthy dose of levity and history of the region. Their energy is both palpable and inspiring. I want to be like them when I grow up!

The silver tsunami is among our best assets in the Valley. As GCC examines how to continue involving the community in our evolution, our senior members become part of our human capital bank. With your wisdom, professional and other experiences, passion for learning and developing the human potential, and affinity for the college, there is little that we cannot accomplish together. There is room for everyone to contribute to GCC’s next phase of success. In fact, we are counting on the community’s support to help us deliver our mission for the greatest number of people.

As we expand our innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to seize new opportunities and address known challenges, we are counting on a diversity of perspectives, skills, and lived experiences that can help us honor both the history of the region and prepare for the future. Throughout the Pioneer Valley, many of our residents have experienced first-hand the transformative difference that GCC makes. Others have family members and friends for whom the college was the turning point. Some of our seniors only discovered us recently and we have become an integral part of their lives.

The college wants to get to know all of its members better and wants to engage you even more meaningfully in our future. Below are some of the ways that we imagine engaging our community, including our seniors. Of course, it is no exhaustive list and we imagine that our community will think of creative new ways to support the college. For the snow birds, we hope that technology will bridge the distance when you are away.

1. Serving as mentors for students;

2. Giving tours of the college;

3. Assisting with event planning;

4. Deepening linkages between the college and the business community;

5. Teaching some leisure and perhaps other courses;

6. Assisting with outreach to our students as many of the ones who need us most may not realize that we exist to serve them.

I invite you to contact us at You may also want to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Here’s to the start of a great new year!

Yves Salomon-Fernandez is the President of Greenfield Community College located in the Pioneer Valley. Her Twitter handle is @prezyves


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