Delta College Faculty often serve in multiple roles at the college, including Crystal McMorris, Associate Professor of English, who is also Advisor to the Delta Collegiate, the student-run news organization that has operated at Delta College since its founding in 1961.
Through her commitment to freedom of the press, Crystal has mentored countless students on to careers in Journalism and Integrated Media, with many of them earning accolades along the way. This year was no exception as work by two Delta College student-journalists earned statewide recognition in the 2021 Michigan Community College Press Association Awards: one for commentary by Velencia Mejia and another for photography by Michael Pieper.
“This was a difficult year for student-journalists, who had to navigate a new way of gathering information during a pandemic,” Crystal said. As a Certified Media Advisor, Crystal’s role is to provide support and advice to the Collegiate staff, who make final decisions themselves regarding content they publish on their web site and social media, exercising their First Amendment rights. The print edition has been temporarily discontinued due to a lack of students on campus.
“Despite our challenges of budget cuts and social distancing, the student-journalists have continued to find ways to create content that engages readers in the Delta College community,” Crystal said. “The staff has shown dedication and creativity during this tough time.”
“I am especially proud of Michael and Velencia for their awards, but the whole staff deserves recognition for keeping the Collegiate going during an unprecedented time, when we could not even access our newsroom.”
The award-winning photo by Michael Pieper captured the action of Delta’s last home men’s basketball game before the pandemic upended college sports, and Velencia Mejia’s humor column offered insight into the life of a pregnant student.