ASB meetings will remain online through the fall semester

ASB committee turns focus to assisting student’s basic needs

Since+the+Los+Rios+Community+College+District+made+the+decision+to+transfer+all+American+River+College+operations+to+online%2C+the+Associated+Student+Body+has+not+been+able+to+meet+in+person%2C+but+is+still+continuing+to+meet+through+Zoom.+%28file+photo%29

Since the Los Rios Community College District made the decision to transfer all American River College operations to online, the Associated Student Body has not been able to meet in person, but is still continuing to meet through Zoom. (file photo)

Brandon Zamora, Opinion Editor

With the campus at American River College closed off to nearly all staff and students this semester, the members of the Associated Student Body needed to change the way they handle their meetings that they would normally have on school grounds.

While the group hasn’t updated their page on ARC’s website, ASB is still giving updates through its own website, as they give updates to when their meetings are scheduled and are allowing people to attend their virtual meetings.

According to Brett Sawyer, the Student Life Supervisor for ASB, all meetings for ASB this semester will be held on Zoom.

“The senate has been meeting on Zoom since April,” Sawyer said. “The senate will continue to meet Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.”

While there aren’t many returning members in ASB this semester, according to Sawyer, all of the senate are ready to be leaders to represent ARC in these trying times.

“We have about three to four members of the senate who are returning this year, while the rest of the board is new,” Sawyer said. “All the students on both boards have a lot of energy, and are committed to being student leaders in this virtual environment.”

One of the returning members on ASB this semester is the senate’s current president, Naomi Dasari. According to Dasari, this semester will be a challenge to her and the rest of the senate with all their meetings being held online and how much their accountability will be measured by other students.

“Accountability will definitely be more of a challenge this semester,” Dasari said. “Remote operations can lead to a disconnect between the student community and the student leaders, which limits how much the students can hold the ASB leadership accountable for their responsibilities and actions.”

According to Dasari, ASB’s biggest goal for the semester is to help students feel welcomed by setting one of their main focuses on equality and helping students succeed. In doing so they changed their mission statement from “Access and Success” to “Equity and Success.”

“This change really demonstrates what direction ASB is taking this year,” Dasari said. “We will focus heavily this semester on fostering equity in our community, meeting our students basic needs, and examining ways that we can best serve our students on their journey to succeed.”

One of the bills ASB is focusing on this semester is Senate Bill 291, the Postsecondary Education: California Community College Student Financial Aid Program. According to Dasari, this bill will give students who receive financial aid more funds and include the cost of living to increase it.

“The main thing about the bill is that it focuses on expanding the financial aid packages for community college students to include the cost of living,” Dasari said. “That means food, housing, and transportation.”

Another point ASB will be focusing on is their Basic Needs Committee. According to Ramses Galvez, Vice President for ASB, the committee was created last semester and has been working during the summer to help ARC students who need it most during the pandemic.

“The basic needs were created to support and help those most vulnerable students at ARC who received a little bit of support or didn’t receive any type of support and have not received yet during this pandemic time from our campus, district or the state,” Galvez said.

For any additional information on ASB and their meetings for this semester, the senate created a website where it will post updates for their agenda, minutes. Students can also use the site to RSVP a spot to watch ASB’s weekly Zoom meeting.

Correction: Naomi Dasari was misquoted. “Equality and Success” was changed to “Equity and Success” to reflect the correct quote.

Editor’s Note: The Associated Student Body has since changed how they allow individuals to attend their weekly virtual meetings and no longer has an RSVP option on their website.