Think back to being a new student. The college gives you a new email to check. Students can only make counseling appointments by phone one day every two weeks. The monitors in the hallways and student center are as likely to show out-of-date alerts as current notifications.
According to Scott Crow, public information officer of community relations for American River College, there are two reasons students are given email accounts by the school.
The first is communication. “The messages that students really need are going to be coming through that Gmail account,” said Crow. “If you’re added off a waitlist, you’re going to get a notice by email.”
The district tried a system that uses student-provided emails, but “students would insert that email address (and) a week later we would send an email to that account and it’s deleted (or) the user has changed accounts.”
Secondly, the ARC-generated email is also a .edu email, which guarantees access to scholarships, grants and services such as free shipping from Amazon.
Making an appointment with a counselor can only be done every two weeks on Fridays. “Historically, it’s always been the two week period,” explains Jeffrey Stephenson, dean of counseling. “Counselors’ schedules change because they’re asked to be on committees or at meetings.”
Rather than transitioning to a rolling scheduling model, the administration is considering extending the window of time in which students can make appointments. “We are currently looking at other technologies so that we might be able to actually look out even further, or we might be able to reach (students) through electronic means such as their cellphones,” Stephenson said. However, “sometimes when we book out…what we find is some students don’t show up.”
The current challenge of the campus is communication and technology. The big hope of various departments is that they can make use of the big screens in the hallways and Student Center. “[The monitors were] thousands of dollars,” Club and Events Board President Jeremy Diefenbacher said.
The marquee outside the library is another issue. As old as it is, it “would cost $15,000 to fix,” said Kenneth Hinton, former Associated Student Body presidential candidate. Diefenbacher likened it to having a broken VCR—the technology is so old that the knowledge to fix it is now specialized.
The two biggest challenges for ARC are, consistently, money and communication, and it seems that these problems are felt by all.