Triton to Lead Discussion of Immigration Challenges During February Events

Layout 1Feb. 13; Faculty Panel Discussion at 1-2:30 p.m., in Room A-321 in the Triton College Library.

Feb. 14; Film Screening and panel discussion begins at 6:30 Room I-109 of the Triton College Cernan Earth and Space Center.

Community members are invited to help advance the ongoing discussion of immigration-related issues and challenges during a pair of upcoming events hosted by the Triton College Library, in partnership with East and West Leyden High Schools’ One Book, One Leyden program.

 First, an interdisciplinary panel of faculty members will share a wide range of perspectives on the topics of immigration, refugees and volunteerism during Community and belonging: The plight of modern refugees. The panel discussion of these important and timely issues is inspired by themes of Warren St. John’s book Outcast United.

 Community and belonging will take place Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1-2:30 p.m., in Room A-321 in the Triton College Library.

 The following evening, the discussion continues following a special screening of the documentary, The Other Side of Immigration, a powerful film that invites viewers to examine issues pertaining to immigration/emigration from a variety of angles, some of which are not often seen or discussed in the United States.

 Following the film presentation, there will be a conversation about the film as well as other immigration-related topics. As part of the discussion, Seth McLellan, film and media professor at Triton, will talk about the genre of documentary film and its relation to fiction.

 Additionally, a group of immigrants from within the Triton College community will share their experiences of changing countries and continents, adjusting to new cultures and leaving their old countries behind. Our guests include immigrants from Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Canada, France, Philippines, Indonesia, Poland and others. Community members are invited to share their experiences as an immigrant or a host of immigrants.

 The film screening and panel discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, in Room I-109 of the Triton College Cernan Earth and Space Center.

 Both events are free to attend and open to the community.

 For more information, email or call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3591.


African Drum Ensemble ‘Kaben Kafo’ Performs at Triton – Feb. 8

Layout 1Back by popular demand, Kaben Kafo returns to the Triton campus for a workshop and live performance.

 Kaben Kafo (translation: “Let’s play together” in the Malinke language spoken in West Africa) is a djembe percussion ensemble comprised of some of Chicago’s most studied and gifted djembe and dunun professionals. This concert will feature six musicians led by the Chicago-based djembe virtuoso, Taylor.

 The performance is Thursday, Feb. 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Student Center Cafeteria located in Building B on the west side of the Triton College Campus, 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove. The event is free to attend and open to the community

 For more information, call (708) 437-6915, Ext. 3383 or email For more information about Kaben Kafo,

Triton’s LGBT Student Group ‘Common Ground’ Receives OPALGA Founders Award

Common Ground welcom-960x350 Emily-Mason

Triton College’s gay-straight alliance student group, Common Ground, and Oak Park-River Forest High School’s A Place for All received  the 2017 Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association (OPALGA) Founders Award at this year’s annual scholarship fundraising gala. The gala took place at the Oak Park Carleton Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Common Ground faculty advisor Dr. Michael Rosanova says he is proud of accomplishments that members of the group have achieved because of the broad range of students that Triton educates.

“The irony is that the vast majority of LGBT support services have concentrated on four-year colleges and large universities rather than two-year community colleges like Triton where the need is greatest and the results are likely to have the greatest impact,” Dr. Rosanova said. “I am glad that OPALGA has chosen to honor the unique contribution and the true significance of Triton’s Common Ground.”

The OPALGA was founded in 1989 in order to encourage institutional change and to promote the community life of both LGBT neighbors and non-LGBT friends and allies in the Oak Park area. The OPALGA Scholarship Program has provided financial support to LGBT youth, LGBT allies, and to the children of LGBT families since 2012. Applicants for the OPALGA scholarship have come from high schools such as Oak Park-River Forest High School, Triton College, other colleges and professional training programs, including educational institutions with no formal support for LGBT students.

Triton College nursing student Emily Mason is among this year’s recipients of an OPALGA scholarship. Mason, a Proviso West Graduate, was selected to receive the scholarship after writing an essay focusing on the struggles she encountered in gaining acceptance from her family as a member of the LGBT community. Mason says the support she received from Triton College, particularly from members of Common Ground, helped her find success and happiness in both her academic and personal life.

“It gave me the opportunity to socialize with more individuals beyond the classroom, and it gave me confidence to help people understand that as individuals, your voice is everything,” Mason said. “There’s no such thing as wrong, so the best thing is to speak out, be verbal, be aware, and be positive in the community.”

Since 1997, OPALGA has awarded the OPAL (Oak Park Area Leadership) award to individuals and organizations that are considered worthy of recognition by OPALGA for their work in the community. In 2017, OPALGA changed the name of the award to the ‘OPALGA Founders Award in memory of Mel Wilson’ in order to honor the work of distinguished architect and LGBT activist Mel Wilson, who passed away earlier this year.

The theme for the Nov. 18 scholarship fundraiser is “Knowledge is Power”. Triton College’s Common Ground and Oak Park-River Forest High School’s A Place for All have served as pioneering gay-straight alliances which provide a safe space for LGBT students and non-LGBT friends to socialize, participate in community service projects, and experience the support and optimism that will help them realize their full potential. This year’s ‘OPALGA Founders Award in memory of Mel Wilson’ recognizes and applauds their empowerment of our youth.

Photo Captions:

1) (L-R) Common Ground faculty advisor Michael Rosanova, director of Student Services Johnny Urbina, Common Ground (formerly Triton Gay Straight Alliance) Tuni Mikli.

2) Triton College student Emily Mason, Bellwood, was chosen to receive an OPALGA scholarship.

Stevenson Middle School 7th Grader Selected to Serve as Triton’s President for a Day

Watt-MooreQualities of inspiring role models and leaders was the theme for Triton College’s President for a Day challenge, which brought seventh grade students from District 89 schools to campus for a day of activities on Monday, Nov. 13.

 Prior to their visit, students participated in an essay contest in which they wrote about leaders whom they admired. Stevenson Middle School (Melrose Park) student Shantiah Watt was selected as the winner, earning her the honor of President for a Day. She chose NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson as the subject for her essay.

 “I wrote about Katherine Johnson because she is very similar to me,” Shantiah said. ”She is an African American woman good with Science and Math, and she is a great role model.”

 The students visited several areas of campus during their visit, including the newly renovated East Campus Greenhouse and the Engineering Technology lab. Triton faculty and staff engaged the group in discussions on sustainable gardening and sustainable building practices, highlighting how these concepts are present in their everyday lives.

 The group also enjoyed lunch with Triton College President Mary-Rita Moore, during which they discussed qualities that make good leaders and role models, highlighting the subjects of their essays.

 “The students of District 89 schools were thoughtful and engaging, and I truly enjoyed spending time with them,” President Moore said. “I am confident that they will succeed in any path they choose, and I hope to see them back campus as visitors and students in the near future.”

 For Shantiah however, the day didn’t end there. As part of her presidential duties, she reviewed college materials and offered positive input. She also provided feedback about programs currently under development at Triton that will provide additional support to students.

 “It was a lot of responsibility, and I was into that,” Shantiah said of her experience. “There were also fun parts.”

 The President for a Day challenge is part of the Office of the President Initiatives aimed to strengthen relationships with students and community members from within the Triton College district. We look forward to expanding the initiative to include other schools and organizations within Triton’s district.


Hellcab, Directed by Triton Faculty Sommer Austin, Premieres at Den Theatre Tonight

hellcabA special 25th anniversary production of the classic Chicago play Hellcab will have a decidedly ‘Triton College’ flavor. A production of Agency Theatre Collective, Hellcab premieres Friday, Nov. 17 at Chicago’s Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.

 Playwright Will Kern’s Hellcab, which tells the story of a day in the life of a Chicago cab driver as she encounters some of the city’s strangest characters just days before Christmas, is directed by Triton College Performing Arts faculty member Sommer Austin.

 “I think it’s the type of play that a lot of people will enjoy even if they are not necessarily ‘theatre goers,’ because it has that kind of appeal to everyone, and it’s a working class story,” Austin said.

 In addition to Austin, Hellcab’s cast includes Triton Theatre Department costume designer Kate Jacobsen, while theatre faculty member Andrew Gallant serves as the play’s technical director and Triton Theatre Department department lighting designer Ellie Humphrys will serve in the same role for Hellcab.

 Furthermore, Triton faculty member Patrick Kane and automotive students assisted in securing and transporting the automobile that will be featured in the play.

 “Kane was instrumental in helping us figure out the engineering challenge of getting this car dismantled and up to a second story theatre, and we are grateful for his talents as well as those of the automotive students,” Austin said.

 Austin and Gallant have taught performing arts classes at Triton College since 2012, while playing prominent roles in Triton’s Theatre Department. Austin established the Tritonysia play festival in 2017, featuring short plays written by Triton College students, faculty, staff and community members. Gallant has directed several plays at Triton, including the Fall 2017 production of Waiting for Lefty.

 Austin is the co-founder and managing director of The Agency Theater Collective and co-founder/owner of Green Shirt Studio.

 Opening night for Hellcab is Friday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Dec. 17. Tickets are pay-what-you-can for all performances. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call the Den Theatre Box Office at 773.697.3830.

For more information on Triton’s Visual, Performing and Communication Arts Department, call (708) 437-6915, Ext. 6932, or visit