The Oak Leaf

SGA candidates give speeches ahead of Monday’s election

courtesy of SRJC
Eduardo Osorío Juarez espera ser la voz de los estudiantes de SRJC.

Dylan Kerzin and Abraham Fuentes

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The three candidates running for Student Government Assembly (SGA) associated student president delivered speeches in the quad on Wednesday to a crowd onlooking students.

Candidates for contested positions including VP of Student Health and VP of Diversity Affairs also spoke at the gathering.

Elections begin on April 16 at midnight and end at 11:59 p.m. on April 20. Voting can be done in the bottom left corner of your student portal under the “Student Life” section.

Dori Elder is running for associated student president. She is currently working on prerequisite coursework prior to transferring to a four-year university. Elder is a deaf studies major, active in several clubs and currently Vice President of Student Life.

Abraham Fuentes
Dori Elder a candidate for SGA presidency. She is running for transparency and for better living conditions for the student.

Elder explained that student housing is an issue close to her heart, after recently becoming displaced from her home.

“I saw some things happening on campus that I wanted to change. One of them is student housing, it’s really important. When you think of a student that is homeless or house insecure you have a vision in your head and that vision doesn’t look like me, but I became homeless 4 weeks ago and I had to deal with that,” Elder said.

“It’s crazy to deal with that and school and everything that is going on, students should not deal with that. I am lucky because I have family that supports me and took me in.”

Elder went on to explain that it is not as easy for other students who don’t have those opportunities to fall back on. Student housing could have a big impact on helping those students.

Elder stated she has and will continue to hold Santa Rosa Junior College President Dr. Frank Chong accountable, so situations like the attempt to cut summer classes don’t happen again.

“It’s really important for me as a student body president. I would hold the college’s administration accountable for their actions. If students were sitting at the table, on the day that decision was made, that email would have never gone out. It’s really important that students have a voice,” Elder said.

Eduardo Osorío Jureáz is also running for associated student president. He works with various departments on campus such as the Office of Student Equity, Students Affairs and the non-credit department to provide support to the student body population. Juárez also works with the organization Movimiento estudiantil Chicanx De Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A.)

Abraham Fuentes
Eduardo Osorío Jurez is one of the candidates for SGA presidency. He is hoping to be the voice of SRJC students.

“I have been here for a year and half and I have managed to make good connections with the department leaders here. I have noticed that we like to hear about sustainability. A sense of community and school spirit and I would like to work towards accessibility towards the students success. I have gained a lot from SRJC, it’s time to give back.” Juárez said.

Juarez wants to make SRJC a safer and healthier institution.

“You notice things have been going on with summer schedule almost being cut, the administration not being transparent. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to attend these meetings and give my opinion and the student perspective,” Juarez said. “I enjoy being in these meetings it allows us to continue to give the student perspective. And keeping people accountable and putting them in check if I’m honest, because we do have administrators that do make unbelievable amount on salary.”

The new kid on the block is Riley Shepherd, who is also running for associated student president. Not having any previous SGA experience, this gives him a new perspective for SRJC. His main goal for the school is to become more inclusive towards people with disabilities. He wants to improve the sense of community within SJRC.

Riley Shepherd is a candidate for SGA presidency. If elected, he promises to make the college more inclusive and community oriented.

Shepherd, who has a friend with a gluten allergy, commented on the lack of gluten-free options in the cafeteria.

“I want to see my friend be able to eat at the cafeteria, because we do not have gluten-free options. I want wheelchair access in Emeritus. This should be basic.”

Shepard also wants more events, like the one on last Valentine’s day.

“On Valentine’s Day there was a jumpy house that was rad,” he said. “I want more of that.”

Jenny Patterson-Kerr is running for the position of VP of Student Health. She explained her personal experience on how health impacts one’s life.

“Whether it is not being food secure, worrying about the cost of rent, stressing about the balance of going to school, having a family and working, as well as having physical and mental challenges, I have experienced it all,” she said. “I know how sometimes simply getting out of bed can be a major feat.”

Kerr wants to support students in their pursuit of learning in the healthiest way possible. As a former public school teacher and mental health counselor she has witnessed how health can impact learning.

“I am a huge supporter of our Student Health Services mission, which is ‘to maintain and improve the physical, mental, and social health of students at Santa Rosa Junior College’, and to strengthen and inspire the well-being of the entire college community, towards supporting student success and life-long learning,”  Kerr said.

Angie Carretero is running for the position of VP of Student Health. Carretero aims to make a major commitment to SRJC by serving as a liaison for important student issues.

“I plan to promote wellness, awareness, and create support of and find discounts for your individual aspirations toward better health and wellness,” she said. “One of my plans is to get a vegan/vegetarian vending machine for our cafeteria from Amy’s Kitchen, if elected.I am no stranger to student health issues, I have a background in HIV/AIDS outreach, nutrition and weight management, and traditionalized Native American wellness talking circles.”

Carretero believes in student health services and in fidelity. She has a commitment to serve, represent, create opportunities in health, promote awareness and keep office hours in support of advocating and listening to students concerns.

“If elected I will work closely, as a team member, with the other governing bodies of the SGA to create a positive and amazing 2018-2019 school year – through your input,” Carretero said.

There are two candidates for SGA Vice President of Diversity, Mark Murakami and Stephannie Starr.

Murakami, who is in his third year at SRJC, is running for SGA Vice President of Diversity. He’s worked at different institutions within SRJC, such as the Health Occupations Preparation And Education Program (HOPE) center and on the AmeriCorps Health and Wellness.

One of his main goals is to increase inclusivity within the campus.

“I’ve been sorely disappointed by the lack of resources formally dedicated by the college to the visibility, engagement, health, and voice of students like me,” Murakami said.

He is also looking for new safe spaces for students.

“We deserve a college that provides more than just a few safe spaces: we deserve a college that is itself a brave space,” he said.

Stephannie Star is looking to be re-elected in her current position as SGA Vice President of Diversity for a second semester.

One of her priorities is for high school students to be aware of the SRJC community.

“I will work with our high schools to make them aware of the benefits of the learning communities here, that allow culturally based learning,” Star said.

She looks to increase the awareness of students on how they are represented.

“I believe that every student should be able to see themselves represented in the programming, staff, and administration available here.”

She also aims to help students with mental health issues.

“I am committed to ending mental health stigmas among our college students. Self care strategies and services, essential during and after the fires, are needed still.”

The positions of SRJC Student Trustee, Executive VP of Petaluma, VP of Advocacy, VP of Sustainability and Director of Clubs Petaluma are currently uncontested.

 

Additional reporting by David Tamayo.

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