With the bulk of the 2016-17 academic year coming to a close, the top executives of Mt. Hood’s ASG (Associated Student Government) will transfer their roles to their newly elected successor.
This past year was a challenging one for ASG and student life on campus, in general due to the departure of two main advisers last year.
ASG President Kelly Bernardino and Vice President Santiago Velasco said it was tough when it came to making sure their entire team was trained, and individuals knew their roles. “Despite all of the understaffing and all of these obstacles that we had to overcome as a team, I think we worked together and we managed to get through it pretty well,” said Bernardino.
The understaffing hit ASG pretty hard, said Bernardino. “We could have done a lot more had it not been for the loss of the two advisers (Meadow McWhorter and David Sussman),” she said. “We were at a point where some of our coordinators and senators saw that there was a lot to do and they felt that responsibility to take it upon themselves –all while being a student and while maybe having a second job outside of ASG.”
The executives said that they worked very well as a team when it came to the whole body of ASG. “Everyone was willing to help, and they actually helped,” said Velasco.
The team was forced to pull together more so than previous years.
With the executive duo’s responsibilities came involvement with different areas of the campus. With there being fewer administrative councils at MHCC this year than previously, Bernardino was most involved with the Access and Diversity Council (ADC). The ADC formed the Undocumented task force which provided information and resources to undocumented students.
These year’s Finance Council proceedings were another highlight for Bernardino and Velasco. “The Finance Council in general agreed with increasing the student fee dollars for next year,” said Velasco. “That’s an impact that we had this year.”
“We had a really good chair(woman),” said Bernardino about Anna Mar, ASG’s director of finance. “She was able to pinpoint some of the issues that had been overseen year after year – that will be really helpful for future years.” Bernardino said that if future Finance Council leaders continue approaching the budget the way it was done this year, there is a possibility for programs to expand.”
With their positions lasting only one year, the duo acknowledged they couldn’t accomplish as much as they would have hoped. “One of the things that I would have liked to see more this year is the communication within the college campus,” said Bernardino. To improve that, on ASG’s part, next year there will be a position for a director of communications who will be responsible for posting on all ASG social media accounts and communicating with all of the departments and organizations, on behalf of ASG.
Velasco said he would like to see more leadership development courses for individuals in clubs and groups, outside of ASG. “We take one credit class every term. It is a sequence, and then we attend two conferences for the whole year that are about leadership and… social justice,” he said, suggesting others should get similar training.