The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South student government prompts others to consider

By Tristian Evans/south news editor

Time and time again, history has proved that in places where there is no government, there is chaos. College campuses are no exception.

For years, TCC student government associations have been inactive. This changed last fall when South resurrected the student government on its campus.

“At a two-year school, it’s much more challenging,” said South Campus student development associate Noel Garcia. “It’s a revolving door.”

Garcia said establishing a student government, or any club for that matter, is difficult because of the short amount of time students usually attend TCC.

This fact, however, didn’t stop South director of student development services Cyrus Johnson from initiating the resurrection of the student government association.

When Johnson discovered South Campus had no student government, he decided to begin one. He believed it was pertinent to the success of the campus.

“It’s the lifeblood of any campus,” he said.

One of the ways the South SGA plans to stay up and running for years is by recruiting some of the individuals already serving as members of a particular club and having them transition to serving as the SGA officers, Johnson said.

Government associate professor Martha Musgrove, the SGA’s faculty adviser, thinks a number of things led to the inactivity of governments on the campuses.

“I don’t think there is one single reason that the student government associations have been inactive for years,” Musgrove said.

All clubs and organizations go through periods in which they are vibrant and active and then inactive, Musgrove said. Even though SGA had no noticeable presence over the past five years, the student body indirectly makes up a governing association when students are involved in other clubs.

At a recent regional SGA conference, South Campus had one of the strongest groups in the region.

“This says a lot,” she said.

She said now that South’s SGA is active and represents each organization on campus, it is on its way to giving students a stronger sense of ownership of the college.

SGA president Chris Anderson said that the group is supporting other organizations on South.

“We have been involving ourselves in different events in order to show we are here to aid them in whatever endeavors they may have,” he said.

He and fellow SGA officers regularly attend board meetings, conferences and seminars to show an involvement in student body activities.

The success that Johnson and South’s SGA members have had getting the group up and running has inspired other campuses to begin developing their own student government associations.

Doug Peak, Johnson’s counterpart on SE Campus, said that the he is in the process of organizing SE’s own student government. He was approached by a group of students who had an interest in starting one.

Peak believes part of the problem is most students don’t really know what a student government is, what it does and what all goes into it.

“I think part of it is students need to learn what it’s about,” he said.

To help with that, posters about student government have been placed around the campus to inform students and get them interested. Peak is excited about the idea because he believes it will be a good learning experience for the students.

SE student development associate Amy Staley said student interest waxes and wanes over the semesters, a problem that doesn’t plague just student governments.

“The continuity is something that’s not always easy to maintain,” she said.

An interim executive board is not only working on finalizing the SE SGA’s constitution but also talking about how it can make this a self-perpetuating organization.

“What we don’t want to have happen is it to burn out,” Peak said.

The board will serve until next spring, and then a campuswide election will elect officers.

NE Campus had a student government years ago that flourished for about 10 years, said Paula Vastine, NE director of student activities. By the time she began overseeing student activities, the SGA had dissolved.

“I am not opposed to having student government, but, as I have already discovered, it should be initiated by students and then supported by administration,” she said. “Not the other way around.”

Vastine said she firmly believes in leadership opportunities for students and tries to make that happen any opportunity she gets.

TR Campus is looking to start up its own government in the near future.

“That’s something that we’re definitely interested in on Trinity River,” said Michael Baumgardner, TR student development director.

Baumgardner would like to hold elections as early as next fall so that a government would be up and running by next spring.

On NW, there are no plans to start an SGA in the immediate future, but the campus currently has a student advisory council that meets once a month to discuss issues and concerns.

“If we had some students who are interested in starting an [student government] organization, we would be happy to work with them,” said student activities director Vesta Martinez.

Johnson said students should look for the SGAs on campuses to emerge and evolve. One day, he would like to see one big SGA where the respective SGA presidents meet to discuss things that the district and also its respective campuses need.

“If we don’t have that government, [students] would never have a voice,” South Campus student Diana Claussen said. “I think that we’re getting a lot more students, and I think we need to have a voice.”

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