UPDATED: Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m.
By Jahna Lacey
In an attempt to create a stronger Student Government Association, the university’s student leadership is pushing ahead with a set of goals to accomplish by the end of the semester.
After spending the Fall 2013 semester reestablishing the SGA, connecting with students is the next priority, SGA president Andrés Holliday said.
“Throughout the years, the SGA has not had a strong connection with the students,” Holliday said. “Some of the strategies that we have are to keep a transparency on what is going on around the three campuses.”
Holliday plans to add a new student member position for those who want to be actively involved but cannot commit to the senator position. Student members will be allowed to participate in SGA meetings, build their knowledge of the association, list and direct events and attend forums.
“The student member position is the most important in the SGA because the student member is the one who brings spirit to the university,” Holliday said. “They are the ones who are going to create traditions and bonds between the university and the students.”
The Student Senate addresses concerns and issues and creates solutions within the university’s three colleges. The senate is voted in during elections every fall semester and serve full term. Following service, the president then has the power to appoint new members of the senate.
Other objectives driving the association include extending welcome center hours, a request by the student body for more food options at Brooks City-Base Campus and the addition of a recreational center.
Increased office hours
First, SGA recognizes a need to extend welcome desk office hours at Main Campus Building and Brooks Campus, because it will give students attending evening classes equal chances of receiving assistance.
“Students will have an opportunity to enjoy the amenities they paid for,” Holliday said. “… by working with administration at the president’s office and office of student affairs to look at the key aspects of students’ needs.”
The center’s office hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. The association is still deliberating how to extend office hours.
SGA will present the issue and find a resolution Feb. 24 with President Maria Hernandez Ferrier.
Support for recreation center
Along with extending center hours, SGA is advocating for a recreational center for the university.
The recreational center fee forums are scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday in Room 196 at Brooks Campus and 3 p.m. Thursday in Room 204/207 at Main Campus Building.
SGA favors a recreational center because it will benefit students’ health and wellness.
“The recreational center is more than just a gym. It is an essential piece to the health and well-being of students and their university life,” Holiday said.
According to a survey conducted by the association in Fall 2013, more than 50 percent of 150 students surveyed showed the need for a recreational center, Holliday said.
The recreational center will bring in more recreational events as well as medical programs and a nursing staff. The recreational center and staff would be located at Main Campus.
Expanded food services
To expand food options for students, the association will run a two-week trial for students to taste from about eight different food trucks on Brooks Campus in April. The varieties will include Mexican food, barbecue and different types of gourmet food.
Holliday said whichever food truck they decide on will offer a variety of food options at a reasonable price.
“The goal is to give the students at the Books Campus more food options at an acceptable price. We’re going to make sure we select a food truck at an economical price,” he said.
At the end of the two weeks, SGA will conduct a poll and the most popular food truck will serve the campus.
Emphasis on student life
Additional SGA goals are to provide publicity for students, extend hours in the wellness center and bookstore, create a new annual 5K run and create intramural sports for Palo Alto College. The association plans to sponsor organizational events to create team bonds and hold charity events.
Holliday says the whole purpose of SGA is to help students enjoy their college experience.
“Some of the stuff we aim to do is to be able to create a student life that is memorable,” Holliday said. “I feel excited and confident for what the future holds.”
The next association meeting will be 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 21 in Room 204/207 at Main Campus.
For more information, contact the SGA at 210-784-1329.