Student Senate spending sparks more questions than answers

Brittany Harden, Staff Writer

When students at Cosumnes River College, and various other colleges across the state, pay their tuition every semester, $1 is placed into a special fund accessible by the Associated Students of Cosumnes River College in order to pay for events and scholarships throughout the year.

Student Senate President Katelynn Rodriguez is one of the officers of the ASCRC, and helps to oversee the events. According to Rodriquez, the budget was $7,258 as of June 2014.

Facing issues of being understaffed, ASCRC was unable to provide any newer budget information.

“We currently don’t have a treasurer and that’s who you would be talking about the budget,” Rodriguez said.

In the past, the budget was used on Constitution Day, a program that helps promote the development of educational programs on campus, according to CRC’s website. During the event the student development office passed out pocket sized U.S. Constitution books.

The most recent use for some of the funds was on the installation ceremony where the newest member of the Student Senate, Jose Muniz, was sworn in. Rodriquez said that another upcoming event is the Vendor Fair, occurring on Oct. 6-9, which is a fundraiser for the student senate to gain further funds.

“The budget also comes from the District Operating Budget,” Rodriguez said. “It helps make sure we have money.”

Rodriguez said that at the end of the semester if money remains, it goes into a senate reserve that can be used at a later time.

Right now, Rodriguez said her main focus is to get students more involved on campus and in the community they are part of. Using the budget to build a student center on campus is another goal that Rodriguez said she has.

“I was born and raised here,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t understand how they don’t care about the campus.”

While the outlook on student participation is low from the ASCRC perspective, students said that lack of advertisement is one reason.

“I only find out about events when I see them,” said Christopher Vandonsel, an 18-year-old business administration major. “They don’t announce it.”

Vandonsel said he would also like to see the events bigger on campus and hopes that the student senate can get sponsors to get students involved.

One of the two upcoming events that the budget will be spent on is the California Community College Student Affairs Association, Rodriguez said. The CCCSAA is a conference for all community college leaders to get leadership training and bring back what they learned to apply on their campus according to California Community College Student Affairs Association website.

While much of the Student Senate budget goes to the events on campus, some of the money goes to the Oliver J. Durand scholarship according to the CRC website. The scholarship is a leadership award that is given to a student that has presented outstanding service in his or her community.

In addition to the $2,500 that is given away, an additional $700 is also given back to students through scholarships and awards, Rodriguez said.

For the student center to become a reality it would have to pass a student vote first. Then it would be up to the budget committee and faculty to pass the initiative, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the student center would be a “building plastered with clubs” and hopes to make it happen someday.

Although the Student Senate said they wish students would be more involved, some students said they want the Student Senate to make events more inclusive.

“I feel like everyone does their own thing,” said Josue Gutierrez, an 18-year-old civil engineering major. “I would like to have events incorporate and have students come out.”

Rodriguez said she wants to let students know that they are welcome to come to the Student Senate meetings at 1:30 p.m. every first and third Thursday of the month.