SGA reaches out to students

Eladio Bobadilla
September 24, 2004
Filed under News

By ELADIO BOBADILLA

Rip staff writer

The Student Government Association of Bakersfield College is hoping to bring change to the campus beginning with the organization itself. The association has a new president, a new constitution (changed mainly to allow the Inter-Club Council to oversee activity planning, a duty previously carried out by SGA), and even a new name (formerly Associated Students of Bakersfield College).

To achieve many of its goals, SGA president Joe Ruiz said the organization needs to raise considerable funds.

SGA is raising money mainly through stickers, which give students discounts at the student store, BC games and other events. According to Ruiz, the $15 price is used to cover operating costs. He said SGA’s goal is to sell a sticker to 50-75 percent of the student population.

There are 14,745 students enrolled at BC, according to official documents.

An additional $1 is charged to students’ semester bills and is billed as a “Student Representation Fee.” A publicly posted meeting agenda also described a $1 announcement/concern fee. Don Turney, dean of students and SGA adviser, said this fee is “really tongue and cheek.” He said it is supposed to be charged at public meetings to students who want to voice a complaint, but it is rarely actually collected. “It’s really kind of fun,” he added.

Turney said the money will likely be used to provide students with “a cleaner campus they can be proud of.” In addition, services such as tutoring, support for clubs and bringing more ATM machines to campus are being considered.

Ruiz was less specific and said only that SGA plans to “provide services to students.” He declined to comment on specific services.

Jordan McCay, 23, a business administration student at BC, said he doesn’t mind any of the charges but expects accountability.

“I hope this money is being used for the benefit of students,” McCay said.

He also said he hopes the money earned collectively will help now that students need it most because of budget cuts.

Turney emphasized that the money collected is reinvested in the campus and the students.

“All that money is kicked back to students 100 percent,” he said.

Ruiz, who is focused on “getting students involved,” said he has already seen a surge in interest.

“Look at all these applications,” he said, pointing to a stack of applications for student government positions.

But many students still seem apathetic or simply cannot find time to engage in campus politics.

“I’d probably go to the meetings if I had time,” said Annette McNeally, 38, a nursing student. “But I’m busy working and studying most of the time.”

Another BC student, Gilbert Cano, 20 said, “I’m not really involved,” speaking of student government.

And although he said, “that doesn’t mean I don’t care,” he added that he doesn’t feel like taking part in student government will make a difference.

Ruiz says he also wants to reach out not only to students who feel indifferent but also to students who are discontent with administrative issues.

He said they often complain to the wrong people.

“What good does it do to complain when you are complaining to the wrong person?” he said.

“Students often complain to their friends rather than to student government or the (BC) administration.”

Ruiz acknowledged that SGA has a lot of work to do, and that students at large are apathetic toward student government, and said his organization will have to do a better job at communicating with the student body.

“We want to hear from students,” Ruiz said. “My door is always open.”

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