Smoothie event not so smooth

Keith Cousins

This column was not even supposed to be a column – it was supposed to be a simple news brief forwarding what appears to be an entertaining event put on by the Associated Student Government. However due to the circumstances, I am forced to raise serious questions with regards to this event as well as the general state of Saddleback College’s ASG.

For those of you not in the know – which is everyone other then the ASG – a Jamba Juice event has been planned for the Wednesday after Spring Break.  Secretary of Senate Sonia Vaswani proposed the event to the senate and after discussion they voted unanimously to provide $3000 to purchase smoothies for students. E-Cab also granted $500 to the event before it was brought up in the student senate.

Sounds great right? Of course it does. When I saw this item on the senate agenda I couldn’t help but daydream of picking up a free delicious smoothie on my way into the Lariat. I immediately felt the urge to promote the event in the Lariat so I sent an email to Miss Vaswani inquiring about information for this event so that I could inform all you thirsty Lariat readers when to get your hands on the free fruity beverages.

That was Feb. 23. Since the first email I have had several other reporters voice similar inquiries into the event with no success or response at all. It took the Lariat staff and I two weeks just to get the senate minutes to confirm that the event was going to take place.
Why has it taken so long you ask? Well after some digging and conversation with a courageous ASG member, it appears that there is some bad fruit going into the smoothies.

The member of ASG, who will remain unnamed, came to the Lariat to voice his concern over the event due to the fact that Miss Vaswani happens to be the Assistant Manager of the Jamba Juice receiving the funds for the event.

What’s the problem with that you ask? Well if she somehow got a discounted price or gave several other options and prices from other local smoothie place then there really is no problem at all. However, this simply was not the case.
According to the ASG member, not only did Miss Vaswani not present several options of businesses to buy the smoothies from, but was very vocal about her position with Jamba Juice as well.

This is a huge conflict of interest, and as members of ASG are very hesitant to discuss even the basics of this event, it is clear that I am not the only one aware of this conflict. While I doubt that Jamba Juice employees receive commissions on their smoothie sales, the fact is that Miss Vaswani is bringing $3,500 worth of revenue to her store. Obviously, that will garner favor with her superiors.
The event sounds great, but the conflicting interests within the event leave me with a sour taste in my mouth. I cannot in good conscious participate in the event and I encourage you to refrain as well. 

Even more discouraging is the way in which ASG has decided to communicate with the Lariat. Simply put, there are several members of student government who will not communicate at all, and as such, are neglecting a major part of their job. This is not the entire group. There are many members who are all to happy to cooperate with the Lariat, because they understand that our job and theirs go hand in hand. We need to work together to ensure that students are informed and aware of what goes on at Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College.

This column is only on one event but I could say so much more with regards to the ASG in general. I will pause for now, but I have no problem writing columns for the rest of the year on this matter. More importantly, look for the Lariat dodgeball team to dominate in the upcoming tournament. I won’t go into the fact that I proposed a dodgeball game with ASG last semester but trust me we will come with our A game. So get ready.