SGA votes against new position for Petaluma campus


Séamus Reed, Assistant News and Arts & Entertainment Editor

In a contentious 5-4 vote, the Santa Rosa Junior College Student Government Assembly chose not to pass a constitutional amendment April 1 that would have created a new SGA officer’s position and added a voting option on the ballot for the upcoming SGA election.

The proposed position, Vice President of Sustainability for the Petaluma campus, would coordinate green initiatives like composting and sustainable plastic use.

SRJC staff and faculty from the Petaluma campus spoke to the assembly and advocated the need for someone to bring sustainability initiatives to their campus.

“Student-led efforts are vital to the progress of grassroots sustainability efforts at the JC,” said David Rau, co-chair of the Petaluma Green Collaborative. “Student support is even more important due to staffing shortages that impact progression in implementation of sustainable action, especially in the facilities department.”

Guy Tillotson, a waste diversion technician, said that SRJC Petaluma is already short on custodial and facilities staff.

“Our dining services are not anywhere near sustainable; there needs to be someone there to build that relationship, to improve that,” said Our House Coordinator Dr. Amanda Morrison. “Petaluma can be a little bit of a mess as far as sustainability, so there needs to be more of a presence that is a more of a clearing house for these efforts.”

Student Trustee Robert Martinez said that while an SGA position may not become available until after the following spring commencement, an assembly member could be created as early as the following week.

Assembly members are students SGA appoints by majority vote to advocate for a specific issue. They cannot cast votes, and the position expires at the semester’s end.

“Am I able to be at both campuses as much as I would like, in order to support everything that we’re doing? No. But that’s why we have committees,” said current Vice President of Sustainability Sophia Porter. “I’m not disempowering or dissuading a student from advocating for themselves. That’s something I’m very married to as far as a cause on campus. But at the same time, we need to think long-term, what it means to have another vacant open position. This is the hardest thing I think I’ve ever vocalized here at SGA.”

SGA President Eduardo Osorío Juárez thanked the faculty and staff who attended and suggested that they keep trying.

“We’ll continue the discussion. Please don’t lose hope in working with us. We want you to work with us,” he said.