Mt. Hood’s Associated Student Government (ASG) is off to a slow start this fall due to understaffing and communication barriers, but remains focused on its top three goals, its leaders said.
New ASG President PonyBoy Peterman and Vice President Carey McIntosh aim to expand the campus food bank, increase MHCC’s online presence, and promote textbook affordability.
Additional proposals are in question, but the ASG is sure to move forward with these three, said Peterman.
A main goal is to expand and move MHCC’s food bank for students, Barney’s Pantry, into the back room of the Student Union.
McIntosh hopes to get the Oregon Food Bank or other Portland food banks involved in revamping the pantry. ASG already has a big fridge and aims to stock it with meat, vegetable, fruit and actual meals, she said.
Portland State University’s student food bank “is like a minimart, so I would really like to talk with them and see who funds it,” said McIntosh.
Peterman is interested in increasing online presence for commuting students who want come and go for classes as quickly as possible. If a framework can be developed that is more productive and streamlined it will be easier to survey and get connected with students, he said.
The increased use of online platforms is a long-term ASG goal. Peterman has discussed a five-year plan with Justin Core, the new director of student life and civic engagement at Mt. Hood this autumn. As part of this plan, Peterman wants to explore the possibility of earlier ASG elections (now ending in mid-May) so that the new president and vice president could be trained and transition faster and more productively into their positions for the following school year.
“I am not sure if we can actually do that, but these are the kind of questions we need to ask,” said Peterman.
This year’s leadership has also struggled with some critical MHCC vacancies, including a permanent ASG faculty adviser. The position formerly held by Meadow McWhorter has remained unfilled since spring of 2016.
Textbook affordability was a main part of the ASG president and VP’s campaign last spring, and is still a big priority, the two said.
As ASG’s senator of library last school year, McIntosh used her connections to find resources and conduct surveys to pinpoint student needs.
Both she and Peterman work with Heather White, MHCC technical services coordinator, and Mark Peterson, faculty librarian, on a textbook affordability team where they discuss potential resources such as open-source textbook and online resources.
Navigate is one of the online resources that guides students applying for financial aid, filters classes searches by cost, and provides other help.
The barrier with open textbooks is that a Mt. Hood faculty/staff member would have to spend uncompensated time to write a textbook unless someone is willing to fund the project.
The textbook affordability team has discussed visiting Portland Community College, which has promoted Open Education Resources (OER) and saved and students an estimated $1.3 million on textbooks between the Fall 2014 and Winter 2017 terms, according to the official PCC Library website.
“Why not promote this culture of continual collaboration and open knowledge?” said Peterman.