Local college campuses will be buzzing with students Monday, and each school year brings several new opportunities and resources.

Bakersfield College is launching several initiatives in entrepreneurial education to support the growing need in the community. Entrepreneurial education is defined by a series of courses and workshops that result in practical information applicable to developing and enhancing the success of small businesses, said Manny Mourtzanos, dean of instruction.

The initiatives include:

Workshops and certificates: students, without registering in semester-long courses, can enroll in a series of workshops, ranging from nine to 18 hours, that lead to one or more of 11 certificates in entrepreneurial topics such as marketing, finance and accounting basics, and computer skills. Students may apply the workshops and certificates towards an associate’s degree in business administration.

Entrepreneurship Student Club: Enactus is BC’s official student club in entrepreneurship and is affiliated with the national Enactus organization. BC and CSUB will join efforts to support a unified club.

BC Launch Pad: it empowers residents of Kern County with entrepreneurial resources to successfully start and grow small businesses through the delivery of educational opportunities and support services.

The start of the semester brings with it the launch of the Early College initiative that provides simultaneous high school and college credits to students across Kern County.

"On 31 high school campuses, students are not only beginning a new year of high school, but they are also beginning their first year of college," said Program Manager Kylie Swanson.

In the rural cities of McFarland, Delano, Wasco, Shafter and Arvin, cohorts of ninth graders will have the opportunity to complete an associate's degree over the next four years.

Students in the Kern High School District and rural areas will also have access to an additional number of dual enrollment college courses at no cost. Courses are in industrial automation, agricultural business, general education, public health and education.

A few Measure J construction projects will also be completed this school year, according to Program Manager Tamara Baker. The first phase of Memorial Stadium's renovations to install artificial turf and a new track is in its final stages and will be completed in time for the first home football game on Sept. 7. The Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center is scheduled for completion in December.

BC has also received a $396,000 grant to expand its Program Pathways Mapper, innovative interactive course catalog/education planning tool, to include bachelor degree programs. The next phase of Program Mapper will partner with CSUB to develop clear, intuitive pathway visualizations that seamlessly integrate the community college and the university student experience.

"This grant will allow BC to increase staff efficiency in transferring new and updated curriculum into the Program Pathways Mapper, culminating in both BC and CSUB consolidating their Finish in 4 Program Maps to help students visualize their path to completing bachelor’s degrees in all Associate Degree for Transfer programs," said Craig Hayward, dean of institutional effectiveness.

Cal State Bakersfield has expanded several of its student life resources. Most noticeable is new workout equipment to take advantage of in the Student Recreation Center. 

Larger pieces of equipment that were purchased include: four Matrix treadmills, two Matrix recumbent bikes, two Matrix upright bikes, 10 Precor Treadmills, two Life Fitness PowerMills, two EnergyFit ski-rowers and six additional Schwinn indoor cycling bikes.

"Each year the (Student Recreation Center) sends out this survey to CSUB students requesting information about their experiences at the SRC. One of the questions we ask is 'What other weights and/or cardio equipment would you like to see added to the SRC?'" explained Trae Mathews, facilities and member services coordinator. "This year the results were overwhelmingly favoring more bikes, steppers and rowers ... According to our equipment representative, CSUB is the first university within the CSU system to purchase these ski-row units."

The Student Recreation Center cycling studio is also now open for drop-in use throughout the day. Before it was only open during Group X classes.

The Runner Cafe is also making changes this year. Students can come in, sit down and study or just hang with friends without making a buffet or at-the-door purchase.

Cafe hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for brunch and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for dinner Saturdays and Sundays.

When students drive to campus they will also notice a newly paved Don Hart Drive West and GET bus stop.

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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