A walk around South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) will inevitably bring you in contact with any number of the many talented students, professors and community members who frequent the campus. Not only does the southwest Olympia college play host to brilliant minds, but also incredible programs and various activities that help expand the horizons of all who visit SPSCC.
While strolling through the SPSCC campus, one of the very first people you’re likely to meet is Jordan McNair, the friendly face often seen behind the Start Here desk in building 22. As part of the Outreach Office, Jordan’s position places him directly in front of many individuals seeking answers to their questions as they navigate the campus, often for the first time. “I really love the ability to be myself in this role,” states Jordan. “I also love helping people and watching them walk away feeling more peaceful. For most college life is a new experience but even returning students often feel frantic or nervous coming back. I get to greet them with joy and peace and watch as their nerves calm down as they become more confident.” While Jordan’s role is incredibly important, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his involvement with SPSCC.
Upon graduation from Tumwater High School where he was heavily involved in musical theater and various art classes, Jordan was honored with an Ambassador Grant to attend SPSCC. With this scholarship in hand, Jordan had two years of schooling paid for, which helped solidify his decision to stay local and begin working toward his Associate in Arts (AA) in 2018.
Another piece of the Ambassador Grant required Jordan to be part of the Ambassador Program on campus, which supports the Outreach & Recruitment Team at SPSCC. Through it, Jordan volunteered to help with various tasks around the school. “Being involved in the Ambassador Program really changed my experience from the get-go,” states Jordan. “I spent a lot of time volunteering around campus, welcoming new students, and sharing the many benefits of attending SPSCC with prospective students. It required me to dive in head-first to college life and helped me navigate life outside of high school as I took on more responsibility.”
After completing his first year at SPSCC, Jordan was encouraged to apply for a position on campus in the Student Senate. “I had applied my first year and didn’t get in,” says Jordan, “but when I applied during my second year, I was accepted and became the Senator of Diversity & Equity Affairs.” In this role, Jordan became a representative for all the students on campus to advocate for their needs, including seeing improvements that could be made to the food pantry on campus. After overseeing the expansion of the pantry into a new room, Jordan was thrilled to see an increase of people coming to the pantry and the immediate impact it had on both students and community members.
While working on the food pantry project, Jordan also spent a lot of time walking around campus getting to know fellow students. “During this time of getting to know SPSCC better,” states Jordan, “With the help of a friend, I decided to create my own club called B.R.A.V.E., which stand for Belonging, Revival, Authenticity, Vision, and Equity. I found a lot of joy going around campus giving gifts, talking about God with students, and supernaturally healing them in the name of Jesus.”
After graduating with his AA, Jordan looked back fondly on his first two years out of high school and grew appreciative of how monumental his experience was. “It helped shape my decisions for the future and also helped me realize that I wanted to stay at SPSCC to obtain my associate in software development and then a bachelor’s degree in computer science, which I know should be available at SPSCC in the next few years.” Not only did Jordan make up his mind about wanting to continue his education, but he was also officially hired as media technician for The Unheard Outsider podcast.
The Unheard Outsider creates a space that invites uncomfortable conversations surrounding higher education and social justice, and features college employees as hosts and rotating guest speakers. During Jordan’s course work to obtain his AA, he took many classes such as film, digital media editing, and 3D design. “Funnily enough,” expressed Jordan, “at the same time I started creating and editing my own podcasts. I’m not sure how my coworkers knew that I was into these things, but a coworker suggested that I apply for the position as podcast editor. Before I knew it, I was in a Zoom meeting and became the new editor!” Although the opportunity came about quickly, Jordan’s been excited to settle into his role and continue to expand his reach at SPSCC. “I love how the podcast offers a voice for both students and staff. Giving people a voice when they feel unheard. The setting is also informal, so there’s more of a comfort level for guests to share their thoughts and allow people to expound on their own experiences.”
The Unheard Outsider Podcast has begun growing and expanding to now include Jordan, who has introduced a new sound and feel, alongside host Quinton C. Neal Jr., a quare blacktivist and critical intersectional educator. Additionally, the podcast also features Erin Rust, one of SPSCC’s outreach/admissions specialists.
In addition to his work in the outreach office and podcast, which is part of the Diversity Equity Inclusion Center, Jordan has also been a part of the IGNITE Program and Black Scholars Program. IGNITE helps students of color, low income, with a disability, and “first generation” students, those whose parents did not go to college, by offering community and support services to get through college and graduate, while the Black Scholars Program assists Black and African American students navigate college by offering mentorship, community, and support services tailored to unique needs around racial identity.
“Little by little I’ve been getting more involved on campus,” says Jordan. “Looking back, I’ve realized how much I’ve done with the school.” As someone who’s incredibly involved at SPSCC, Jordan’s word of advice to any new student would be to put yourself out there and get involved because you’ll be a lot more motivated to attend school when getting to know people. “It pays to be yourself, for a lot of joy simply comes from you being you.”
Learn more about life on campus at the South Puget Sound Community College website.