STC Student Activities coordinator returns to college, earns new degree
STC Coordinator of Student Activities and Wellness Luis Banda earned his Associate of Arts degree in Advertising and Public Relations Dec. 10.
Having successfully obtained his most recent college degree, longtime Student Activities Coordinator Luis Banda reflects on the growth, both personal and professional, that is created through a dynamic learning environment at South Texas College.
Impacted by COVID-19 and its effect on student involvement on campus, Banda said he became eager to refine the department’s message and outreach in the aftermath of the pandemic. It became critical to enhance his professional skillset, he said.
Now, more than a year after embarking on a degree, Banda graduated with an Associate of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations in December, and says he is now eyeing a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership.
“After COVID hit, our department saw a need for creating a message for students to connect. It was pretty difficult to be in communication with students throughout that time since they weren't coming in person, and then when we tried to offer activities virtually, it became an even more difficult challenge,” Banda said. “My whole intent was to evaluate those strategies. So I came back to college to enhance my skillset and utilize it in my job to benefit students as much as myself.”
“The goal is to complete. The most important thing about educational success is completion, regardless of how long it takes. It’s about setting goals, managing your time and balancing your circumstances.”
First employed at STC in 2005, Banda had previously received an associate degree from Texas State Technical College in Digital Image and Technology and a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Workforce Leadership from the University of Texas at Brownsville. He also earned a Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership from Lamar University in Beaumont.
Originally employed as a professional in intramural sports, Banda said entering the world of Student Activities and Wellness expanded his skills by introducing him to aspects of student government, leadership academy and the variety of student clubs on campus.
“I have grown deeper than I ever thought possible here at STC,” he said. “I have always been a life-long learner, whether it be in school or seeking professional development opportunities so yeah, COVID did present us with some unfortunate circumstances that definitely changed us, but we used the situation to not just think outside of the box, but to be adaptable for our department and our students, too.”
Utilizing his new degree, and through his work with a group of dedicated employees and his affiliations with the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), as well as STC faculty, Banda said he will begin his 17th year at the college with new ideas for students.
Student Activities will look to implement an increased social media presence as well as the addition of multi-media programming to showcase students and their accomplishments. Talks are also being held to consider the addition of a possible student-led publication in the near future.
“The goal is to complete,” Banda said. “The most important thing about educational success is completion, regardless of how long it takes. It’s about setting goals, managing your time and balancing your circumstances.”