Associated Student Focus Group has their first meeting

The first session this semester of the Associated Student Focus Group met at the Student Lounge in the Student Services Center to discuss topics of student interest Friday, March 7.

This group was formed last semester to get the students interested in the Associated Student Government’s activities where campus policies get discussed and voted on, said Michael Nepomuceno, 21-year-old history major and board member of ASFG.

“This focus group’s mission statement is to be able to listen to students on campus, to voice their opinions on how to improve Saddleback’s campus,” Nepomuceno said.

In addition to the upcoming smoking ban and health-directed cafeteria menu, parking was one of the topics that took up much of the discussion.

A concern was the cost of student permits versus staff permits. Students pay $60 yearly while staff pays $20. There will be a recommendation to increase the price of staff parking by 300 percent and increase the price of daily parking permits from $2 to $5 to raise revenue to be able to hire more security officers.

“Saddleback is bigger than Disneyland and has only one police officer to patrol campus at nighttime,” said Maryyan Sabahi, 21-year-old biology major and Director of Learning Resources.

When the panel asked what students expect from ASG, the student response was varied with concerns for parking, better learning resources, recreational center and improving student community.

Lily Rahmani, 20-year-old business administration major, discussed a point regarding the policies for the campus given by the board of trustees, where ASG has no voice.

Board members should listen more to students in the decision-making process. Students comprise the majority of the campus, with 26,000 students versus 1,200 faculty members and staff. Students want to have a stronger voice in the policies instituted in campus, Rahmani said.

The feedback will be presented at the ASG meeting and will be made into recommendations for the board of trustees.