SG Accomplishments/Goals

Bakersfield College/Bakersfield (BC) - SGA Has Big Plans for Spring Semester and Beyond, 11-12

Category:Goals, Goals/Accomplishments, Implementing/improving publicity, Improving/switching food service or providers, Increasing SG support staff
Goals Details:

Student government has big plans for spring semester and beyond

Gregory D. Cook, Reporter
February 1, 2012
Filed under News

Despite a critical shortage of senators, the Bakersfield College Student Government Association has plans for an active semester, focusing on programs that will leave lasting effects on the college and its students.

"This year, the programs that we are getting involved with are programs that will be here after we're gone," SGA president Tawntannisha Thompson said.

That is why in addition to the usual activities, such as Spring Fling, the SGA is putting substantial time, effort and financial resources into programs such as the Renegade Food Pantry, Mentoring and Peer Services, Be Fit and other programs and projects designed to enhance student safety and success.

"The little things we do are just gone when they're done, but we're looking at programs for the students that can still be sustained after we leave," she said.

Thompson acknowledged that last semester wasn't as successful as the SGA might have hoped for. "You know, last semester was a rocky road because we didn't start with a full executive board," she said. "But this semester, we have all the help and support that we need, so it can only get better from here."

According to Thompson, the big challenge facing the SGA this semester is filling the 16 vacant senator positions. As of Jan. 30, only three of the SGA's 19 senator positions had been filled. "Senators are the voice of the students," said Thompson, and she stressed that they play an important roll in the legislative process.

Senators are responsible for going out and having conversations with their fellow students, learning about the issues that face the students at BC, and then making those concerns known to the SGA as a whole to be acted upon if possible.

While the shortage of senators can partially be blamed on an unusually large amount of senators transferring to other schools at the end of the last semester, Thompson also points out that replacing them has been difficult.

"Students just don't know how they can get involved. You just come to Campus Center 4 and fill out an application," she said.

The executive board then conducts a series of interviews and if the candidate meets the requirements, they are installed as a senator.

The shortage of senators isn't slowing the SGA down in planning a full semester of activities though, including a month-long celebration of Black History Month, something that Thompson admits is overdue at BC.

"This year, the SGA and BC are going to celebrate Black History Month for the first time since I can remember," Thompson said

The SGA, along with BC's African-American Student Union and others, will be presenting activities each week in February, beginning the first week with the passing out of copies of Ella Mazel's book, "And Don't Call Me a Racist," and a display from Colonel Allensworth Historical State Park. Allensworth was a California town founded, financed and governed by African-Americans, 30 miles north of Bakersfield. The following weeks will feature showings of documentary films, panel discussions and a BC's Got Talent, talent show in the fourth week.

Planning is also under way for Spring Fling. The theme for this year is "A Day At the Beach," and the SGA is welcoming input as to what activities the students would like to see.

The SGA is also funding a new African-American Male Mentor program to help increase success rates among Bakersfield College's most challenged demographic group. "African-American males currently have the lowest completion rates of anyone in community college, and anything we can do to change that is a positive thing," said General Counsel Derrick Kenner, during a meeting in which $5,000 was allocated to the program to pay for speakers and events.

The SGA will also maintain its dedication to the Renegade Food Pantry and will try expanding the popular program through donations from faculty and staff. Last semester, the pantry served over 6,000 students at a cost of nearly $15,000, and they hope to serve even more this semester.

"Students cannot succeed if they're hungry, when that's all that's on their minds," said Thompson. "If we can supply that box, two or three times a month, it helps out a lot."

The best advice Thompson has for the students of BC, though, is to just express their concerns to the SGA.

"A lot of the new students don't know what we do or why we're here," she said. "But if you have a comment, concern or there's something you just don't know, come in and ask. If we don't know what you want or need, we can't fix it."

The SGA offices are located in Campus Center.