By Anthony Karlis / Staff Writer
After several years of varying levels of success, this year the Student Government Association (SGA) is moving to revitalize Student Government Committees and get more students involved in them.
According to John Shantz, President of SGA, a Student Government Committee is “a way for students’ voices to be heard” and serves as a focus group to identify student concerns on school-related topics. For example, if a student is not satisfied with the school’s wireless network, they can bring their concern to the Technology Committee. Any student can join any committee, and meetings are held one to four times each month, or more if necessary.
Each committee consists of a group of students and one or two members of SGA who serves as a “Chair” and mediates the meetings. One of the Chair’s primary objectives is keeping the meeting’s order in accordance with “Roberts Rules of Order”, the most commonly adopted parliamentary authority in the United States.
The first meeting of a new committee, referred to as the Interest Meeting, is where SGA conducts surveys in order to gauge the importance of issues pertaining to the committee. After gathering student opinions at meetings, the Chair then serves as a student representative to faculty at College Committees.
Student Government Committees that return every year, such as the Technology Committee, are called standing committees. These committees address problems that always stay relevant.
Another type of committee is an Ad Hoc committee. SGA creates them as deemed necessary and will hold meetings for them only until they complete their task, in which they then dissolve. An example of this is last years Every ONE Counts Campaign, which was formed to raise money for the construction of the Ray Bateman Center for Student Life and Leadership. Since the construction for the Bateman Center has completed, the committee dissolved. Dissolved committees can also reassemble as needed.
Shantz and Conrad Colon, Vice President of SGA, both believe that the committees strengthen the bond between students and faculty.
“It’s the communication aspect. Some students are either intimidated by faculty or don’t know how they would communicate [with them], or don’t know who they would communicate with,” Colon said. “The committee allows them a channel with which to voice their opinion in an open public forum that may be a little less intimidating for students.”
When asked about the future of committees, Shantz said, “I want to see them grow…Down the road, if we could have 850 students per committee, that would be great.”
“All 8221 students of this college are important to us,” Colon said. “We want to hear their voices and hear their opinions. There’s no institution without them.”
“Get Involved,” is the slogan of the campaign for the committees. Colon and Shantz describe it as a mindset that both makes RVCC a better place for students and increases the quality of their time there.
Public information on Student Government Committees is scarce, as of now. SGA is currently planning new ways to make information more readily available to students, such as webpages for each committee, complete with information on committee functions, how to join, meeting places and general information.
In the meantime, Shantz urges any student interested in committees to simply walk into the SGA office, located in the Bateman Center, and ask about them. “I welcome any student who wants to get involved but doesn’t know how, to come into our office. We’ll be more than happy to help them join,” he said.
The 11 active Student Government Committees and their Chairs:
Technology Committee: Imran Vahora
Diversity Committee: DeAnna Nicholson
Community Life Committee: Corinnne Cronheim and Dhruv Patel
Student Life Advisory Committee: Conrad Colon and Corinnne Cronheim
Bookstore Committee: John Shantz
Safety Committee: Melanie Martin
Food Service Committee: Melanie Martin
Game Room Committee: Conrad Colon & Imran Vahora
Curriculum Committee: Conrad Colon
Student Leadership Committee: Conrad Colon & Ashley Geffken Eddy (Vice-President of Phi Theta Kappa)
Community Outreach Committee: Dhruv Patel