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SGA comes back from Covid, seeks more members and offers many opportunities

Courtesy of Student Government Facebook Page
Courtesy of Student Government Facebook Page

The Student Government Association, which meets at 4 p.m. on Mondays in room C106, comes back from the Covid era. This semester we’ve had dozens of people including students, staff, and administrators come in to listen, participate, and share about their experience at CLC, both the good and bad. Attendance is good compared to the pandemic, when SGA was reduced to just the executive board. Some of our members reminisce about the days when our meetings were standing-room-only with dozens of people every meeting, but slowly we’re returning to that animated, lively condition.

This semester we’ve addressed topics ranging from the breakdown of higher-level communication at CLC to the nitty gritty of the dozens of concerns and issues that people have come to us to express. We’ve been planning events for the college such as a dodgeball tournament with lip-sync half-time to come next semester, so watch out for that and the other events hosted by clubs at CLC.

Some examples of guests who have presented to SGA this semester are the CLC president, the P.R. and marketing team, the diversity & equity director, the Auxiliary Services leads, and many more. Our members represent various types of students at CLC, from the common student, to international & transfer students, returning and new students, and students pursuing various degrees and passions.

As a policy-oriented senator for Student Government, I’ve attended internal council meetings, met with directors from various departments and had students and faculty come to me to discuss concerns. I attend SGA meetings and report on my findings and progress.

As an example, a relatively easy to address concern was that of inadequate stock in the female bathrooms of feminine products. A student in one of my classes brought this up and even mentioned conducting mini “raids” with colleagues on the male bathrooms to restock the female ones. She mentioned that some students have missed classes because of the issue, so it was apparent that this needed addressing.

I brought it up at the next SGA meeting to make us all aware of the concern, and it turned out that many of the members of SGA had experience with this issue. So with the approval of Student Government, I went forward with setting up a meeting with Alissa Quist, the custodial supervisor at CLC. It’s not always easy to set up meetings with staff and administration as a student, and the Facilities department was no exception. But with some persistence I managed to get a meeting, and Quist and I sat down and discussed this issue among others.

Courtesy of Iliana Padilla

During these meetings we tend to learn more than what we expect. In this case it was that the bathrooms are cleaned three times a day, twice for minor sanitation and restocking, and once overnight to conduct a deep-clean. The male bathrooms have dispensers for feminine products in addition to the female bathrooms, etc..

What I found most interesting was the fact that custodial staff frequently found the product in mention opened, flushed, or thrown away in the male bathrooms. Whether this was mild-vandalism or genuine curiosity is hard to say, but it was a problem for the stock of feminine products. Fortunately, things have calmed down recently and the number of female custodial staff has increased, which should help to address the stock problem.

We addressed more than just stock during our meeting. As a former janitor at a university myself, I’ve experienced what working for college students can be like, and also what kind of procedures we use to ensure the institution stays in good condition. Something that created some concern was when other members of SGA began to report that students saw custodial staff throwing both recycling and trash in the same place.

CLC is a leader in sustainability, both locally and nationally, so this could have been serious. Fortunately, it turned out to be a misconception. Since waste management is a time consuming and constant task, many custodians prefer to lug only one trash can during their rounds as opposed to two. They can still separate trash and recycling though, because they make sure to keep the recycling in the trash can, and the trash in the trash can liner. It’s easy to see why students thought that everything was going into one bin, but thankfully it’s not the case.

It turns out that recycling at CLC goes beyond what we put in the recycling bins. Quist mentioned that their department collects metal scraps from various departments around the college, such as from the vehicle shop and shavings from metalworking. They also recycle all copper wires from maintenance routines, and they even recycle the worn batteries of equipment that the college uses.

In addition, other departments manage compost waste that CLC collects and uses it to replenish the nutrients in the soil of the campus farms and greenhouses. And if you’re worried that the trash and recycling gets combined at the waste management center externally, then you’ll be happy to hear that custodial staff often have to go to these sites to deposit specific recycling. Thus, they see first hand that recycling is actually happening.

As a senator, I also have some projects that aren’t directly related to an issue at CLC. For me, I want to find every opportunity for student employment and advertise it so that more students can access the benefits of flexible hours and free credit hours.

During our meeting I also inquired about the possibility and viability of student employment in custodial work. Quist informed me that the custodial department has some openings that they’d be happy for students to fill. These openings are for the night shift, which might not sound appealing to many, but I have no doubt there are students at CLC who might value a night-shift job that comes with free credit hours and full-time pay. If you are one of these students, then navigate to the CLC website and search for job openings. Once you’re on a site titled “Human Resources Employment Portal,” then you know you’re in the right place. There are many more job openings at CLC than you might think.

Now, nobody is required to do all of this to be in Student Government. Many of our members are here to observe and listen and express themselves when we discuss something that’s relevant to their interests or experiences. Some of our members discover opportunities they might not have otherwise, becoming a member of another club, or just meeting helpful and well-meaning people.

Joining a student activity makes my CLC experience complete. I’ve learned things through my involvement that have been just as eye-opening as my classes themselves. Students who have had the opportunity to be a part of a club or activity would say the same. So remember that if you have the time to come to any meeting or event, it’ll be worth your while.

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