While waiting for a response to my previous week’s column regarding the ASG offices (yes I used the appropriate name this time) I decided to do some research of my own and see if I could answer some of my own questions.
First and foremost, I apologize for inaccurately calling the room a student lounge. As made apparent by the signs above and on the door to the room, it is an ASG office as well as game room.
Secondly, I did some research and found out what that little sticker commonly known as an ASB stamp does for students.
These facts were due in large part to a source of mine in ASG who chose to remain nameless for our interview due to his fear of retaliation from within his own ranks. For the sake of quoting him in this column I will refer to this source as Nighthawk.
“The ASB stamp gets you into all Saddleback College sporting events for free and gets you discounts on food and coffee throughout campus,” Nighthawk said. “All the money goes back into the ASG budget which goes back to students.”
These funds total around $120,000 annually for ASG and go directly towards funding student programs.
It was nice to learn all about what the ASB stamp does for students, as well as receiving hard evidence that SSC 211 is not a student lounge. But I am still left with more questions and concerns regarding the room.
First and foremost is the exclusionary practice of only allowing ASB stamp members to use the room. Not only does this seem a bit silly to me, as funds from ASB stamps were not and are currently not the only funds being used to maintain and upkeep the room- you are severely limiting the potential of the room itself.
“Everyday people come in with their ASB stamp and use the room,” Nighthawk said. “But it is pretty much the same people and they just hang out, people don’t realize that the room is available if they have the stamp.”
ASG is also planning to add computers to the room so that people with ASB stamps can use the room for studies and anything of their other computer needs.
The potential for a room such as this is huge. Instead of being a place were only a few students go to hang out and sometimes work on homework, the room could mean so much more for students on campus.
It could serve as a room that promotes campus unity and dialogue amongst students and ASG members on concerns and issues facing the campus. This would greatly benefit the ASG, having a place on campus were students feel comfortable and motivated to get active with their college.
Even more alarming to me is that this situation with the ASG offices allows the student government the ability to not be completely transparent.
Say a student comes into the ASG office with a legitimate concern with regards to their campus. Would they even be able to enter the room and give this concern to a representative without an ASB stamp?
I highly doubt that ASG would not be more than willing to hear the concerns of students, it just creates a potential for seclusion from the students ASG is supposed to represent.
Now comes the formal portion of this column.
I would personally like to issue a challenge to the ASG.
What are you doing about creating a student lounge? A place other than the cafeteria and library where students can go to chat and work on homework, a place that builds community amongst Saddleback College students.
What can be done to promote and inform the students on campus about the benefits of having an ASB stamp? There is already a table set up in front of SSC but could more be done by ASG to promote the stamp and inform students of what exactly it does for them?
These columns were not intended to be a bitter rant about some journalists not being allowed into the “club-house”, it is a demand for answers and an easily accessible student government. A government that can’t pick and choose what concerns they hear based on whether or not that student purchased an ASB stamp.
Furthermore, if this series of columns has created a strain or rivalry between the ASG and Lariat Staff, I would like to quell that tension with a friendly game of softball or basketball, or perhaps even a freestyle rap battle.
Nighthawk was very excited when this challenge was issued to him and his fellow ASG cohorts.
“Those nerds? Are challenging us athletes? Bring it [expletive deleted],” Nighthawk said.
I await your response ASG, until then I look forward to hearing from you as well as our friendly competition.