A forum hosted by Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen on March 2 ended with what seemed to be confusion and unanswered questions about student voices being heard on campus.
Nelson said that the goal of hosting the forum was to move conversation forward; to find deeper and more meaningful solutions to campus issues.
During the forum Melissa Bardo, president of Associated Students, Inc., stepped up to help clarify the process for students to become involved with campus committees. At the end of the forum, students still seemed to be confused.
This sentiment was echoed across campus with students from different grade levels and majors. Of the seven students interviewed, none knew that there was an option to serve on a committee.
“It doesn’t surprise me, because in my interactions with students, not a lot of students understand that committees are available to them,” Bardo said. “Opportunities to serve on committees are available to them, to any student at large.”
Most of the outreach to students is currently being done in-person, Bardo said. In addition to classroom presentations, any ASI event that allows the board to interact with other students facilitates student representation through committees.
“We have actively been working to make sure students know that these opportunities are available to them, especially this year, since it has been a problem in the past,” Bardo said.
According to Bardo, students can begin the process of getting involved with a committee by completing an application, either online or with a paper form. Once they submit the application, they have a chance to meet with the vice president of Academic Affairs to choose a position that best fits their interest.
The committee process at Sacramento State gives students a chance to voice their opinions on topics that affect them, Bardo said.
Although he did not know he had the option to join a committee, Ryan Gonzale, a senior economics major, said he thinks it is important for students to be a part of committees that make decisions on campus.
“The faculty and everyone else on campus, it’s important for them to know how the students feel about what’s going on on campus,” Gonzale said.
Senior kinesiology student Vanessa Rubi said she believes it’s important for students to be involved because they bring a different type of insight than faculty.
“[Students] definitely experience things that maybe faculty and staff…any kind of staff know about,” Rubi said. “It’s good to have that perspective rather than just the perspective of the higher-ups.”
Michelle Bowler, a junior history major, added that there are many ways that ASI could communicate with students and get them the information to join committees.
“They have so many animated stations on campus that tell us the news,” Bowler said. “They could tell us about things on that.”