Student life absent from student center

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Radley/ Oak Leaf

Associated Students President Pinaula states the Bertolini Student Center needs to be more student-oriented.

Kelsey Matzen, Staff Writer

The designed purpose of the Sana Rosa Junior College Bertolini Student Center is not immediately recognizable on sight: to offer a building where students can escape from the stress and monotony of a school day. Instead, a row of stern portraits depicting the Board of Trustees greets students. In a building supposedly for student use, a cafeteria and a café down the hall are the only two places where students can go to relax and socialize.

Every semester, the SRJC Associated Students works to change and maintain SRJC in ways that will help the students. One goal is to increase student involvement and garner more interest in aspects of the college besides classes.

According to Associated Students President Josh Pinaula, funding for the years 2007-2008 was severely cut. “Student life really died,” he said.

Though funding eventually went back to normal, student life remained lackluster. In his first semester of presidency, Pinaula is aiming to bring student life back.

“I want to create an atmosphere that connects students to their institution and gets them involved,” he said. “Empowering students to take that one first step to get involved will form connections that lead to even more involvement.”

The one problem preventing Associated Students from instituting major changes is money. Much of its budget is spent on predetermined things that keep the college functioning, leaving little money to spend on new projects for the school.

“It’s great we can keep things going, but if there’s no innovation, then we’re doing the students a huge disservice,” Pinaula said.

One aspect of student life that Pinaula and the rest of the Associated Students want to help is clubs. For the 60 clubs on campus, the Associated Students has $9,000, of which $3,000 is restricted, meaning that projects must be approved  before money can be accessed. Due to this restriction, publicity and gaining new members have been a problem for many smaller clubs.

“The college could be doing more to help them,” he said. “If I could get more money into Inter-Club Council, I could ask them for publicity supplies.”

Pinaula is also interested in getting the alumni association back up and running.

“Right now, alumnus are under the umbrella of the SRJC Foundation,” he said. “While the Foundation is more interested in getting money, alumnus want to improve the school.”

Another problem Pinaula perceives is the lack of information sources for both new and current students. Ideas to alleviate this issue include more public posting areas, a newsletter that consolidates all aspects of the college and “Bearcub Scat,” which involves posting news on the inside of bathroom stalls where students are sure to see it.

However, for Pinaula, the Bertolini Student Center is one of the most important issues. Despite its title, Bertolini offers very few areas for student life outside of academics and career preparation. Pinaula, along with many other members of Associated Students, believe the building could offer more to students.