Ramapo College CEC: More Than Another Assignment

Whether you are a first-year student or last-semester senior, the middle of the semester is upon us, which means our time to complete the five-hour Curriculum Enrichment Component (CEC) is running out. I can hear the disgruntled sighs now, and can envision the panic that just struck those of you who forgot about that vague two sentence requirement thrown on any given professor’s syllabus. For clarification purposes, the Curriculum Enrichment Component is a required five hours spent out of the classroom involved in an activity that ties in with a classes’ course of study. I have heard every excuse in the book to push this off: “It’s not even graded,” “I don’t have time,” “I don’t know what to do,” or “The events that count don’t interest me.” My friends trust me when I say this: professors do know best. When given the chance, CEC can be beneficial to you not only for a check mark on a page write up, but also in career building as well.

On Saturday Sept. 22, the eighth anniversary of the Brooklyn Book Festival took place from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza in New York. The Brooklyn Book Festival is an annual event where writers and publishers table to promote their novels, poetry collections, and hold contests, signings and lectures. The event was suggested as a CEC component by many of my literature professors and I thought, sure, get some books signed, make some purchases, and enjoy being in New York for a day. This would cover all five hours. What I hadn’t expected was what this trip would offer me outside a classroom perspective.

Browsing an aisle of tables of recently published novels, I came across the title “Going Down” by Chris Campanioni splashed across a black and orange banner hanging from the edge of the table. I looked up to see a man in front of me whose silhouette resembled that of the character used as cover art for the novel. This was, in fact, the author. We introduced ourselves and were able to briefly discuss our interest in fiction. Chris is a young author with many different interests and talents, and throughout our conversation I felt a connection with him because we shared the same passion. That is precisely what CEC encourages students to do – get out into the world and find those who share the same passions that we do, to connect and network and feel a sense of belonging to the outside world. You will leave Ramapo with a degree, but what will you do with it? The Curriculum Enhancement Component can give you a sense of direction and lead you to the right people to get you there. From this encounter with Chris, I have been invited to many of his book releases and was able to meet and discuss my craft with different authors.

As Ramapo students, we do not often realize the privileges offered to us. New York is roughly a half hour bus ride away, and round-trip tickets cost $12 at Roadrunner Central. Not interested in traveling out of state? New Jersey itself is filled with opportunity each way you turn your head; the key is to find it. So if you are not interested in the CEC events professors list for you, get creative! Do the research! Most professors welcome suggestions outside of what Ramapo’s campus offers for you. A learning experience is not limited to a classroom or campus. We will continue our education years beyond our Ramapo career and the Curriculum Enhancement Component does not only encourage this, but proves it. A one-day event expanded my horizons into the publishing realm – what could it do for you? I wouldn’t hesitate to find out.