Ten bucks, brighter future

The first step to significant change is unifying Santa Rosa Junior College—but it comes at a price.

Bernie Sanders’ demonstration of an effective grassroots campaign with his average $27 donation to fund his campaign showed how a similar effort can be used at SRJC to leverage the power of our student population of 26,000 if they could agree on how to appropriate funds to affect change.

One way of doing this would be to tax ourselves. Forget waiting on the administration and Student Government Assembly; we could create our own student fund provided by the student body.

Starting in Fall 2017, the college should include a mandatory $10 fee designated for student services. If this charge were implemented last year, it would have generated approximately $260,000 in funds, which could be used for programs like EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services).

EOPS is designed to help those facing English language, social or economic challenges. Developed to represent students who need the most assistance EOPS does it’s best, but due to heightened demand it is impossible to support all students in need. If we  provided them with these funds, we would help a lot more.

Like EOPS, we want to create a culture within our college community that is responsive, effective and helpful. Rather than EOPS running our resources, the Student Assistance Fee could contribute to decreasing the disparity.

This gives you, a student, the power to affect actual change, rather than wait for the administration or student government to make the choices for you. Our student population is a major resource that we have yet to tap into and as a unit we can make the difference.

SRJC has a diverse demographic each of which deserve and receive specific assistance in their pursuit of education.  Students find allies and advocates through school programs who foster their success, but with more resources those services could be more effective.

Each person at SRJC has their own unique identity and story, but we have many common denominators. We are all students and want to further our education, but it’s more difficult to find a job without a degree. Many of us stress to make a living to attend school while we also struggle to afford food, shelter and healthcare. These commonalities make us a community.

We have normalized the struggle of living in Sonoma County and have lost empathy for those in poverty. Too many of our students struggle to get through school. It’s time we come together as a cohesive group and provide for our peers out of our own wallets.