Public 2-Year Schools

Warren County Community College’s Touaboy Inspired at State Leadership Conference

Warren County Community College (WCCC) Business Administration major Elisabeth Touaboy is not your typical college student. Originally from the Central African Republic, Touaboy has developed and been pursuing her own non-profit organization designed to benefit her homeland.

Elisabeth Touaboy of Warren County Community College (on right) discusses women’s issues with fellow college students from around the state at the recent New Leadership Conference at the Center of American Women and Politics held at Rutgers University.

Touaboy became even more determined after she recently represented WCCC at the New Leadership Conference at the Center of American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The New Leadership Conference is a bipartisan residential program hosted at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics to educate college women about the political process and help them realize their ability to become effective community leaders.

“This was such a great opportunity for me,” Touaboy said. “I met so many great people. It was a very inspirational experience.”

Here she was introduced to a wide variety of prominent female political figures in addition to other guest speakers who developed their own non-profit organizations who all encouraged her to pursue her goal of developing a non-profit organization.

Touaboy noted, “If there is one piece of advice I learned at New Leadership that will always stay with me is: If you do not have a seat at the table, then you are probably on the menu.”

Touaboy was accompanied by nearly 30 other college students from all different institutes. Regardless of ethnicity, religion and political stance, everyone at the conference had the opportunity to voice their political views on a variety of serious social issues going on today.

Upon graduation from WCCC this fall, Touaboy says she plans to travel back home to the Central African Republic to apply the skills and knowledge she learned at the New Leadership Conference in her pursuit to building a portfolio for her non-profit organization that will hopefully self-sustain her home country.

She noted that “I’ve been frustrated for a long time with how Western media portrays a one sided story of Africa as a whole; forgetting that Africa is a continent with different standards of livings, languages, etc. The main problem with this is that many people in the West begin to see themselves as saviors for Africa; when in fact the money that African diaspora sends home to family surpasses the total sum that western organizations send in aid. And so people buy into this, and Africans buy into it as well.

“With the current situation in my home country, the Central African Republic, the population waited for help from the French and United Nations. They came and made things worse. Now, the population feels a sense of hopelessness. As a result, people become greedy and the population is divided overall. My organization, which I have not named yet, will be made to show Africans and foreigners alike that we can and we HAVE helped ourselves out of difficult situations without the help of the West. I plan on doing this by limiting benefactors to only Africans. Foreigners are welcome to volunteer but ONLY Africans can provide monetary support. If I succeed, then it will be a testimony to Africans that with unity and understanding all things are possible.”

In time, Touaboy wants to enlarge this idea to include other countries.

“I’ve learned in my business class that expanding too quickly can be bad,” she said. “Therefore I plan on focusing on my country and later on branching out to other countries.”

When Touaboy returns to America, after initiating the organization, she plans to transfer to a four-year institute (she hopes Georgetown University), and earn a degree in Finance and International Relations.

WCCC and Ramapo College to Partner

In an effort to provide Warren County Community College students with a smooth transition to a 4-year college, WCCC recently signed a partnership agreement with Ramapo College of New Jersey that will offer residents a streamlined opportunity to continue their educational pursuits.

Ramapo offers numerous bachelor and master programs, with some of their classes online and easily accessible for students whether or not they are on the Mahwah campus. Ramapo has similar partnerships with other community colleges, including Sussex County Community College.

Dr. Will Austin (left), President of Warren County Community College, and Dr. Peter P. Mercer, President of Ramapo, make the partnership official during a signing ceremony at WCCC.

“In many ways we are two very similar colleges,” pointed out Dr. Will Austin, President of WCCC. “We are both relatively small in size, and have similar mission statements.”

Indeed, both colleges have high graduation rates, similar atmospheres and generally small class sizes.

“We’re thrilled to work with Warren County Community College to deliver an integrated and streamlined experience,” said Christopher Romano, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Ramapo College. “The ultimate goal of this partnership is to increase student success. Everybody benefits when we do that.”

“This pathway is designed so that students can finish their final two years in a timely fashion,” added Dr. Peter P. Mercer, President of Ramapo. “Students earn their associates degree at WCCC and then Ramapo supports them in the ultimate goal of completing their bachelor’s degree.”

One of the programs that both colleges are particularly excited about working together on is nursing. WCCC features one of the best nursing programs in the state. But more and more nurses are being required to obtain a BSN degree in order to get better jobs in many health-related fields. Ramapo offers one of the strongest and most recognized nursing degrees in the State and specifically in this partnership will provide an accelerated RN to BSN degree program, with a majority of those classes available online for WCCC students.

Ramapo and WCCC have had a partnership for years for Creative Writing majors.

Ramapo has more than 30 majors in all, and besides nursing, is renowned for its Business School (AACSB accredited) and its designation as the state’s Public Liberal Arts College with majors including humanities, history and political science.