Press Clippings & Releases

Press Clipping: Bakersfield College - SGA tours D.C.

SGA tours D.C.

Katherine J. White
September 19, 2005

Bakersfield College's SGA officers flew to Washington, D.C. this month to learn how to flex their stentorian muscles and to study under the titans of parliamentary procedure.

The workshops offered in the nation's capitol at George Washington University during the ASGA National Student Government Summit gave the SGA officers who attended advice on becoming proper student representatives, according to Ash West, SGA president.

"We need quality representatives. With better training, we can better advocate for students," West said. He said SGA is especially interested in "training people who are going to be here next year to better represent students." He believes the workshops offered during the summit can help achieve that goal.

Of the trip, West said he especially appreciated the workshops on how to become a better public speaker, how to improve voter turnout for elections, and on marketing, advertising and parliamentary procedure. During the trip, the SGA representatives saw the Holocaust Museum in D.C. as well as the Washington Monument, the Vietnam memorial, the Reflecting Pool and the north side of the White House. They saw a live taping of the news-formatted show "On the Story."

Glenn Taplin, commissioner-at-large for SGA and another attendee of the summit, said "the key to student government is the students." Taplin said that representatives must have a "genuine approach with people with the understanding that not everyone will have the same perceptions about issues."

Taplin was especially impressed by guest speaker Sean Stephenson, known as the wheelchair-bound "Fragile Giant." Taplin said that this former student government senator from DePaul University impressed his audience with his inspirational speech about overcoming the detriments of suffering from a rare bone disease to becoming a dynamic public speaker representing his university's student government.

Ryan Busby, general counselor for SGA, said that he particularly liked the workshop on membership retention for student government as well as the workshop on driving the power of one's personal voice.

Busby said that through the workshops, he found "ways to change myself and ways to implement myself in a beneficial way for the students."

Manuel Gonzales, EOPS counselor, accompanied SGA to D.C., filling in for Dean of Students Don Turney, who was experiencing health problems.

Gonzales spoke favorably of the students who attended the summit, saying they "did well representing BC, and they were well organized."

Speaking of the importance of the summit, Gonzales said that the SGA representatives got a chance to "network with other student governments. Students shared ideas, and they heard about issues concerning different campuses."

Concerning student government, Gonzales said that, unfortunately, many college student governments experience a "quick turnover of student leaders, especially in community colleges. It's necessary to train new leaders to keep running effectively. Students leaders need to learn ways to better involve the student population."

BC's SGA, Gonzales said, has the advantage of "good administrative support. Some schools lack administrative support." Of the trip itself, Gonzales said that "the six students who went got to know each other better, and they will work better together. SGA will profit from this experience."