Did you know Salem County is the smallest of all New Jersey counties? It is no wonder that Salem Community College is the smallest of the NJ community college network. Though this may appear a disadvantage, we make it into quite the opposite – our greatest attribute.
For most of my life I have been enamored with big dogs – labs and retrievers, even a greyhound. There is something genuinely appealing in having big dogs. It seemed the norm. This isn’t to infer our canines were at all good guard dogs, or adept at certain tricks, or even all that obedient. They were just big (and lovable) dogs. As with all good things, our dogs passed. However, suddenly one November Sunday in 2013, the fates bestowed upon us a Chihuahua. Now, to a big-dog guy such as me, Chihuahuas are not dogs, but cats in training. After 3 weeks dogless, the half-pint of fur now named Romeo, joined the family. Less than 8 pounds, he’s secure under my arm when we alight the stairs, finds comfort in that sliver of a space alongside me in the rec room recliner, and, defying his diminutive stature, jumps around on the furniture. He reminds me of SCC. We are small, but comfortably find our niche. Just like our Chihuahua, SCC is remarkably nimble, agile, quick, and most of all, pleasant. With his lack of tonnage, he is easy to feed, much like SCC, as we require comparatively little financial fuel.
Though small, our Chihuahua has changed our lives, and my attitude towards dogs. My wife is the cat person in the family and has affectionately tolerated our (my) dogs. The Chihuahua is her “little buddy” and welcome just about anywhere she goes. Low maintenance is an attribute. Though he is miniature, he functions like a “real” dog. He warns us when someone is about to ring the doorbell or crossing the yard, plays fetch, and welcomes me home each evening at a rate of 90 WPM (wags per minute). SCC is similar. Though small, we function like the big colleges as we provide a full range of learning opportunities. Being nimble, we can respond rapidly to market demand. And, unlike some of our peers, we are welcome in most environs as we pose no threat to their well-being. Perhaps our most endearing characteristic is the fact that we remain low maintenance, costing very little in total dollars invested.
Life as the small dog can have its challenges. Though it is difficult at times, it is also very rewarding. SCC can do things other colleges can’t, or won’t. We are here to make our students successful in their chosen endeavors. Just like our little Chihuahua, though small, we can make a big difference in the lives we touch.