Front Range Community College: Community Outreach Central to Strategic Priorities

Member Spotlight

The curtain rose in July on another Front Range Family Theatre production, and this year's production of Jackie and the Beanstalk at Front Range Community College (FRCC) brought total attendance to these summertime productions to nearly 20,000 children and adults since 2004.

Student Giovanni Martelli (Jackie) sells the family cow in a production
Jackie and the Beanstalk.

Family theater is just one example of outreach activities central to the strategic priorities of FRCC, the largest community college in Colorado with campuses in Fort Collins, Longmont, and Westminster, and a learning center in Brighton.

Other examples that bring community residents to the campuses, or the campuses to community residents, include the following.

  • Each campus has an observatory open on scheduled nights each semester for public stargazing.
  • Physics students at the Westminster Campus partner with second graders at STEM schools to design and build catapults that launch payloads that vary to the season—pumpkins in the fall and baseballs in the spring.
  • Students in history, women's studies, and jewelry-making classes at the Boulder County Campus learned the stories of women living in an assisted living center and turned those stories into a multimedia exhibition that had an opening on campus before moving to an art gallery in downtown Longmont.
  • Theater students at the Larimer Campus take a paint box theater to half a dozen elementary schools each fall. Like the family theater in the summer, literacy and language skills are the focus of the performances.
  • Faculty at the Boulder County Campus present a history-related discussion series, a philosophy-related film discussion series, and current-event lectures both on campus and at the Longmont Public Library.
  • In partnership with Colorado Humanities, the Boulder County Campus has brought to the campus Chautauqua-style performances that have attracted standing room only audiences.
  • Each campus offers tax preparation clinics from February through the tax deadline in April. Hundreds of low- and moderate-income taxpayers are assisted every year.
  • Each campus takes part in College Goal Sunday, inviting people to campus for assistance with filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Two campuses are sites for water festivals for elementary school students. Water conservation districts bring interactive activities to the campuses to teach students about Colorado's most precious natural resource—water.
  • Another campus is the site of a regional Colorado History Day competition for middle school and high school students.
  • Each campus has free music performances and art exhibitions by professionals and students.
  • Student organizations on each campus operate Halloween carnivals for children in their communities.
  • The Westminster Campus is the site for a school district's art show.
  • The Westminster Campus also is the start and finish line for a two day, 150-mile bicycling event that raises funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Colorado.

"It's trite to say we have this outreach because 'community' is part of our name," says FRCC President Andrew Dorsey, "but it's also true. These efforts build bridges to residents of all ages in the communities we serve."