The Associated Student Government is learning how to navigate a fully online semester with almost an entirely new roster of officers, and trying to overcome struggles with getting students more involved without any physical in-person outreach events.
During its latest meeting, the senate focused on the goals of newly created sub-committees and coming up with creative ways to engage students and recruit new members.
The senate is currently looking for new student officers, though the pandemic has slowed new applications down to a standstill, forcing the student government to relax their requirements for new applicants.
Traditionally, new officers need to wait two weeks after turning in an application to even be considered as an eligible candidate. However, recently the senate voted to overturn this waiting period and is now able to interview candidates as soon as applications are submitted.
“This semester is unique for obvious reasons,” President Carson Mitchell said. “So we will continue to modify it depending on the current climate.”
Before this semester, there was also a requirement for each applicant to get 100 student signatures and three faculty signatures to even be considered for a position in the senate.
Now, all applicants have to do is send in a three to five-minute video about themselves; the two-week waiting period has been eliminated.
“Obviously, you still need to be in academic good standing,” Mitchell said. “You still need a good GPA and to be enrolled in at least five credit units.”
The senate has also recently created a committee dedicated to end-of-semester plans.
Among other community-building activities, the student officers plan to host an open town-hall type discussion with City College students at the end of this semester.
The actual discussion will be centered on new ways the senate can focus on student success, with an emphasis on post-election mental health support.
“It will essentially be a Zoom town hall with students,” Mitchell said.
Student Trustee Lilli McKinney raised concerns on whether students would know about the open discussion—if an online invitation would be enough to motivate students to attend.
McKinney said she feels there’s been a disconnect lately between students and the senate.
“We all know it’s hard enough to get involved nowadays,” McKinney said. “Why is it hard for students to get excited about these things?”
Commissioner of Sustainability Lola Bamberger suggested a good way to get as much student participation as possible would be an end of semester socially-distanced celebration in collaboration with Santa Barbara’s West Wind Drive-In.
“I think it would be beneficial to do something a little more lighthearted and aimed to release stress,” Bamberger said.
President Mitchell said he liked the idea and was in full support of any ideas that were centered around students.
“As long as we’re focusing on items that impact students directly then I’m good to go,” Mitchell said.
The Associated Student Government will reconvene next Friday, Nov. 27.