GatorCast Ep. 7: Why Wait to Make Your Voice Heard? - An Interview with ASGRC Representatives
By College Relations, Media Services and the Office of the President, April 5, 2019
President Johnson: Welcome to GatorCast. Green River College's official podcast. This is Suzanne Johnson coming to you today. And we have a special episode come right up. We've got some special guests here today, several of our students. And we're gonna get into a topic about student involvement, student government and how to get involved. So in the booth today I have Floyd, Rosie and Veronica. Why don't you say hi, to everybody and introduce yourselves.
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Hi everyone. My name is Floyd and I'm an international student from China. Right now my major is aviation and it's my second year in Green River College.
President Johnson: Great, how about you Rosie?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: Hi, I'm Rosie. I'm the student body Vice President and I'm majoring in international relations. I'm from South Korea.
President Johnson: Excellent. And Veronica?
Veronica Chaplin: All right, hi, my name is Veronica and I am Chief Justice of student government. My major is international relations and I'm from Kent.
President Johnson: Excellent. So we've got quite the diversity here. So our listeners are gonna be wondering, cause this is one of our first, I think this is our official first podcast with Green River students in the sound booth with me. It won't be the last, but this is our first opportunity because we are gonna be talking about the Associated Students of Green River College. And so we've got Rosie, Veronica and Floyd, all full time students at Green River College, all involved with student government and leadership at our college. So what made you decide to get involved in leadership?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: First of all I'm always interested in the student event I think can bring me a wonderful experience and maybe by coincidence at the first quarter I go to the Green River College and I saw a flyer on the wall it said, "Come join us as our Senators." and I say, "Okay, let's try it." So I try and I make it.
President Johnson: All right, so you that, you just saw the flyer and you said, "I'm gonna go try and be a Senator." And there you were. How about you Rosie, what got you involved, interested in getting involved with leadership here?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: I serve as President of a peer voluntary organization and I do help international student every quarter, and I also have served as a peer mentor, and I'm Vice President of Korean Culture Club. And these experiences have inspired me to dive deeper into community involvement and have motivated me to join student government.
President Johnson: That's terrific. And how about you Veronica?
Veronica Chaplin: Well, to be honest with you, I was really involved when I was in high school, but after graduating and coming here to Green River, I wasn't sure that this was the right community for me to be involved. And so I felt like I hadn't found my place until like Floyd, I saw a sign, inviting students to join our school senate, and I just had to take an opportunity and see if I could get in. And it's been a complete whirlwind. What a difference it makes being involved here on campus and being in different clubs. And I'm really glad that I got to be a part of it.
President Johnson: Wow, that's really great because I think that there are a lot of student listeners out there and they'll see flyers and I know I'll be oftentimes in the student union and a lot of the bulletin boards are just covered with flyers about all kinds of trips, and activities and so on. And it's so important that you just take one step, take a chance, read those flyers, reach out, see what can happen. There are a lot of clubs and activities that happen here, not just in terms of the student government leadership and so on, but in these cases it can make such a difference in terms of the experience a student has at the college. It's not just all about in the classroom and in the labs, it's also on campus with your fellow students. Well, thanks for sharing that. So let's get down to it. You are here today because you're wanting to talk about upcoming elections and opportunities for students to get involved and to talk more about. And I'm learning all the acronyms at Green River, the ASGRC, the Associated Students of Green River College. So who'd like to tell me about what is the ASGRC?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: So as a part of the college structure, the ASGRC handle students affairs. It also provides funding for campus clubs, athletics and also activities. And we do provide some report about student needs and welfare directed to the college administration and board of trustee.
President Johnson: So this is really an opportunity for the student voice to be heard. And I know, of course, you report to the board of trustees and I also report to the board of trustees every month. So this is really an opportunity for student's wants and interests and likes and dislikes to be shared with the college leadership and also the board. So it's a great opportunity to have a voice, right? To have an opportunity to have for us and participate. So what do you all do?
Veronica Chaplin: So as Chief Justice, my role is mainly being involved with different clubs and organizations here on campus. So Chief Justice basically means, I'm chief of Judicial Board in our Senate.
President Johnson: I'm glad you clarified that because I was gonna have to ask that question.
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah, a couple of people tend to be confused, but basically that means the judicial board meets with different clubs and organizations that are trying to have events here on campus, and need funding or approval. And we take them through that entire process and get everything figured out so they can have successful events here on campus. And so every Wednesday, different clubs will come in and meet with us for that. So that's a lot of what I do as part of ASGRC, but also on our own we can also create our own events. And I recently just had my own event as Chief Justice called Adulting 101. Where we had different workshops.
President Johnson: I saw the advertisement for that.
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah?
President Johnson: Yes.
Veronica Chaplin: I'm glad you did. We worked really hard on those. And it's trying to teach students here, different things that can help them going further into adulthood. And so we had one about grants and scholarships. We had another one about condoms and consent, which was really popular. We wanna bring it again next quarter, but it's just trying to up student involvement and engagement. And from talking with students on campus, I realized that a lot of us are really still confused trying to make that leap from being teenagers into full blown adults. So as a Chief Justice, I want just wanna give students that voice and give them the opportunity to learn about things that they might be too nervous or not know where to look to learn more.
President Johnson: Yeah, I love that title, Adulting 101. I said, well gee, maybe I should look at what the topics are. I could go in and learn some things. How about you Rosie? What do you do? How'd you get involved?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: So as a Vice President, a few weeks ago I ran I'll say 522 budget meeting. I mainly conduct several meetings. We have weekly meeting every Wednesday and Thursday from 12:00 to 1:00. And Wednesday is committee meeting, Thursdays is official meeting. I run those meetings. And so per meeting, we are open to everyone and feel free to join us and we want you to be a part of ASGRC.
President Johnson: That's great. And you mentioned 522 budget. What is a 522 budget?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: 522 budget is student activity 522 budget. And it's from our tuition that students have paid. So every department, they present about their budget and we prove their budget with finance committee, yes.
President Johnson: So this is monies that are generated for, through tuition to student activities.
Rosie (Omjee) Son: Yes.
President Johnson: And then you all get to determine with students, how that money will be spent.
Rosie (Omjee) Son: Yes.
President Johnson: That's great.
Rosie (Omjee) Son: For it per year.
President Johnson: Yeah, that's terrific. So tell me what the ASGRC official meeting is, is that all of the membership of the ASGRC? Is it open to all the students?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: The Student Government is made by all those students that who wants to work for the student government. We have our own students center, that the center is all the student volunteers. And the center is divided into four parts. The first one is called a PR, that's public relationships. And by laws and finance and judicial board. All the four departments, we just work together and to serve our students. And maybe we just choose our voting or do some discussion about the student affair.
President Johnson: So ASGRC is actually made up of four specific branches. We've got public relations, bylaws, finance and judicial boards. So it sounds like you're all pretty darn busy. And so do you wanna go through a little bit about what each of those areas does?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: Public Relations, they advertise news, senator application and run and promote the spring elections and organize and design the senate apparel like jacket and shirt. Also they plan events to promote ASGRC. Bylaws, they review the rules that governed the senates operations continually improve ASGRC ruling system to make it compliment the constitution. Also they help ASGRC function better as a representative of the student body.
President Johnson: Excellent. Sounds important.
Veronica Chaplin: We also have finance, which as Rosie said earlier, she was in charge of running the budget meetings and that is a lot of what finance does. They're in charge of creating our next year budget, working with every different club and organization and making sure they have the correct amount of funding for what they're doing. And if they're not using that funding, it can get pulled back to go into different things. So they basically make an entire budget for the next year and it includes everything and it has to be approved later by Senate. So that's what they spend a lot of their time doing throughout the year. And then JB, which I'm a part of as-
President Johnson: JB is it stands for Judicial Board, right?
Veronica Chaplin: Sorry I got, I got a little too into my comfortable Senate…
President Johnson: The government lingo?
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah, we definitely have our own senate lingo but, yes.
President Johnson: Good to know.
Veronica Chaplin: JB stands for a Judicial Board. And as I said earlier, we are in charge of getting events and funding approved, for specific clubs and organizations to come and talk to us. So that's basically any students who are involved on campus and have their own club or a part of any club can come and get event's approved that they wanna have happen here on campus. So it's basically just a way for us to help improve involvement and let people know that if they do have something they wanna see happen on campus, there are things available to them and we are available to them so they can make that happen.
President Johnson: Oh, it's really terrific. So it sounds like the ASGRC is pretty busy. Busy all year, right? Fall, winter and spring.
Veronica Chaplin: We have meetings twice a week, every week.
President Johnson: Twice a week, every week. While you're taking all your classes and homework and I know that some of you have jobs as well. It also sounds like it's pretty well organized, right? You've got the four different branches and you've have the meeting of a whole, that sound like there's a lot going on. So I'm just curious, could you share with our listeners, some of the accomplishments that ASGRC has had in recent times?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Okay, sure. The student government the ASGRC, participated in the WACTCSA meeting. So the WACTCSA is called Washington Community and Technical College Student Association. So basically the WACTCSA is a statewide student government association that has been established in order, we may come together to speak and act with one voice. Every quarter, the ASGRC, we will pick some student as a student leader and participate the WACTCSA meeting and bring our students' voice from the Green River College.
Rosie (Omjee) Son: We also discussed with you, President Johnson and our executive committee us, to find improvement after hearing from students about their inconveniences and desires for our course. Also, we've thought about our school issues right after we were elected as student body and we were able to find the answers through communication with students and faculty members. Lastly, I'm constantly communicating with student on campus and trying to show that the student voices are actually very powerful in changing our community. I think communication was an important key to our accomplishments.
Veronica Chaplin: Well, I think that as Rosie said, that there's a lot of stuff that has been accomplished through ASGRC, but I think when that's really important is just about remembering that the ASGRC is here to serve the people who are here on campus. And I think something that's amazing is just seeing people who were not involved here at all on campus, slowly become more involved, to know what's here for them. And it's interesting to have even people come in and be Senators like me and Floyd who came in, and Rosie and Kim and started as Senators. Just feel like, okay, now there's a spot for us where we can be involved and we can give people that voice. And I think in accomplishment that ASGRC just had together is by giving that voice back to people. So in public relations, every time that we have an event, it is something that we know students are looking forward to. Something that they wanna see here on campus. Bylaws is all about making sure things are going correctly and that not only are we given the right tools to succeed, but we're learning what students wanna be able to succeed. Finance, money is given back here to the school to help improve students' lives, to give them the tools they need to succeed. And JB, Judicial Board, as I said, sorry. It's a little hard to get over the lingo.
President Johnson: It's okay. Lingo's good.
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah, but-
President Johnson: Lingo's good.
Veronica Chaplin: At the Judicial Board, we're basically just trying to get clubs to use their money that they have, $500 when they become official and just get everyone on campus here involved. That's so important. And I think that's what we all stand for being part of ASGRC, is just realizing how important it is for every student to feel like they have a place on campus where they belong.
President Johnson: It's really important. In fact it's something that I talked to faculty and staff about. Wanting to be able to stop any student on our campus and ask them two questions. One is, do you feel like you belong here? And hear the answer, yes. And the next question, can you name at least one person who would care if you weren't here again tomorrow? And not only that, they would name one person, but they have many people to list. And so it's just a wonderful thing to have students not only excelling academically and getting involved with their courses and classes and thinking about their future educational career and career pathways, it's also really important to build community. And that's something I'm hearing you all talk about is the importance of building connections, friendships, community. It's really, really important. I'll tell you what, there's one other accomplishment that I thought you might list here in terms of our lists of accomplishments. I know that Veronica and Floyd were with me in Olympia.
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Yeah, right.
President Johnson: What happened was that-
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: That was wonderful.
President Johnson: When was that, was that February?
Veronica Chaplin: Was that February?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: I think February 26 or something.
Veronica Chaplin: It's all a blur to me, that sickness that I had...
President Johnson: So what we also do, the office of the President and in terms of student government leadership, we come together in the winter term each year and visit Olympia. And do you wanna talk a little bit about the experience that day?
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah.
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Yeah.
President Johnson: What were you doing there? What were we doing there? And how did the day go for you?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Okay, so for me, my Olympia time, it's so wonderful. I came there twice. So the second time I go to the Olimpya at the student, but as a student government President. I and Veronica, and Daniel who is another student volunteer, we go together and we bring our own issue from Green Rick College to those, Legislators.
President Johnson: Representatives and Senators.
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Yes, legislators all officer. But for me, it's government officer or something. Yeah, we just go there and bring our issue. We speak with them, well, like student and a governor or something and we talk about our issue. For me, I talked about the food pantry things and Veronica, Veronica talked about, the bogie shore or something. So it's very, very close.
President Johnson: OER and food insecurity, right?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Yeah. So those kinds of issue is so close to our student life and it's basically, it's the voice from our student. So for me it's a wonderful experience to talk with something, to talk with the big person. Yeah.
President Johnson: Our elected officials, right?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Yeah, of course.
President Johnson: Experiencing American democracy and in motion.
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: At the first time I was so nervous, yeah. Maybe Veronica.
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah, so ... as I said, it's a little bit of a blur, but that's only because I was sick.
President Johnson: Oh, I know.
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah, while we were in attendance, but I didn't wanna miss out on it and I'm really glad I didn't. This is something that I didn't even know happened before I became part of ASGRC. And if you are someone who is listening who may be interested in being part of senate, you can come and be a part of this event with President Johnson. But it basically allows for community college students a chance to have a voice and talk about what is important to us on campus. Before we go to this, we attend a legislative academy where we have different representatives come in and talk about what they wanna hear from students, why it's so important to hear from students. And then getting to actually step foot in the Capitol and have these meetings with people who are setting aside the time just for us to hear about what we need on campus, what students are asking for on campus, is just an incredible experience. I think if I hadn't been apart of this, I would have never known that there was an opportunity like this available, that people in Olympia actually wanna hear what we have to say. And that's why like we've been saying, ASGRC is all about hearing what students want on campus. And that's the same that goes in Olympia. Olympia wants to hear what you and students have to say. So I think ASGRC is just a step forward in making a difference and having everybody's voice be heard.
President Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. It's one of the most favorite days I have of each year to be able to simply accompany students, help introduce you to representatives and Senators and take a step back and let you have the conversations. You know, we are here at the college for you. Without you, we would be nothing. And likewise, our Senators and representatives, strong advocates for public education and the community college system in our state. And it's just one of the most wonderful days for me to just observe and watch your experiences on fold. So let's talk about Senators. Being a Senator and getting involved with ASGRC, what has been a part of ASGRC taught you?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: So for me, first I'm not kind of person that who wanting to spend all my time at the library. Yeah, I will need to find something besides the study, of course, be a part of Green River College and student. Of course, the communication and collaboration are not a lot. As a President of the student government. I think the most important thing that I learned is how to listen to others and how to express myself, cause I know a better communication between students and faculty members can make our job easier and bring more efficiency.
President Johnson: How about Rosie or Veronica?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: For me, being a part of ASGRC allowed me to embrace student opinions and empower students to approach their desires and goals with active enthusiasm. So it was great to be a part of ASGRC.
President Johnson: Excellent. How about you Veronica?
Veronica Chaplin: Well, I think it's really interesting because being part of ASGRC has actually taught me what I wanna see from the government that we have here in the state and in our country, because before I was a part of this, I didn't really have any true expectations, but knowing what it's put on me, what people are expecting, that I will look out for them and that I will take what they wanna see on campus to heart and actually try to work to listen to what they want and have it come to fruition. I think that showed the kind of government that I wanna see and made a difference in who I'm voting for as representatives or legislators here in Washington state, because what a difference it makes when you actually are serving your community as we are here on campus by serving students and trying to listen to their different opinions, hearing what they don't like and they do like here on campus. And so it reminded me how important it is to make sure that legislators and our government officials know that what we want and what we wanna see in our state and in our country as a whole.
President Johnson: Well, yeah. There's such an empowerment in terms of getting involved and knowing that your voice has power and expressing your voice and opinions it does matter. Absolutely. So why should ... so we've got student listeners out there, we've got community members out there as well. We've got all kinds of interesting people listening to this podcast. It's fantastic. We're so excited. The GatorCast has been taken off. So why should students join ASGRC?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Yeah, first on to be a part of their student government it can provide a student a unique experience of our student life. For example, we have so many ones of our student activities, which connect to meet as a student, not only in Norbert's College, but also from other colleges or even the state legislators and the government or officers. And you can order so learn something that will never be taught in the class and improve your social skill. And of course, you can make some wonderful friends in our big family.
President Johnson: One big happy Gator family. And we have a lot of bling that's green in case you're wondering in terms of our Gator green, right?
Veronica Chaplin: We do. We have a lot of good stuff that students can get in the SU building.
President Johnson: Good to know. So if we've got a listener out there and they're saying, "Well, you know, this ASGRC thing, "maybe this is just an opportunity for me to get involved, "make some friends, learn some new things." How do students join? What do they have to do?
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Actually, where there will be a recruiting center for next year during the spring quarter, which it begins on April, yeah.
President Johnson: I think the first day of spring term is April 1st.
Floyd (Zhaowei) Chen: Yeah, April 1st, yeah. But always folks on the news update. It could be flyers around the campus and our social media, our website, Instagram. We will do some recruit from time to time. So once there is an opportunity, don't hesitate, come to the student government. It's the second floor of the Student Union Building and just grab the paper application. Go for it.
President Johnson: So you're located on the second floor of the Student Union. That's where your offices are. And there's lots of flyers and things around for people to attend to in terms of how to get involved. And I know you can find ASGRC on our website, Greenriver.edu and I think he can probably type in ASGRC and get a link there. So what's coming up and what's the best advice that you have for our students out there that are thinking about getting involved or they're thinking about being future Senator?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: We have elections in spring. It's one of our biggest events. So we are gonna inform about the candidates-
President Johnson: For the President and Vice President?
Rosie (Omjee) Son: Ah-ha. Which they qualified for the position and also we have campaigning the next two month. So please look forward to the announcement and please vote for your next student body President and Vice President.
President Johnson: So the Vice President and President are being vetted right now in terms of candidates. And Veronica you were mentioning Senate and Senators. So tell me a little bit more about that.
Veronica Chaplin: Yes, for students who are still interested in getting involved on campus and maybe miss the deadline for President and Vice President, in spring quarter we will be holding applications for people who wanna be Senators for the 2019/2020 school year. And currently anyone is welcomed to attend our Senate meetings that happen in the SU building upstairs in the Emerald Room. And this happen from 12:00 to 1:00 every Thursday. So if you are at all interested and just even wanna see what we talk about and maybe have your voice heard in those meetings, anyone is welcome to join. And we would love for people to apply to be Senators as well.
President Johnson: So how many Senators do we have?
Veronica Chaplin: 16 in total. There is four per each group. So four in public relations, four in bylaws, four in finance and four in Judicial Board. So if you are interested in any of those from hearing us talk a little bit about each of them, please come into our meeting or in April, get an application.
President Johnson: That's great. These are annual positions, one-year position?
Veronica Chaplin: Yes.
President Johnson: So we have 16 Senators that get elected each year for a years term. And so when will those elections be?
Veronica Chaplin: Those will be in spring term as well. And they will be a shorter time because first senate you do not have to campaign like President and Vice President. You just have to apply. And we have an interview process. It's a really like easy, we just wanna get to know you, see why you wanna be involved. And you can pick out of four, you can choose one to four. Which group in ASGRC you feel you would benefit the most in.
President Johnson: That means the public relations, by laws, finance and the JB.
Veronica Chaplin: Yes, the JB.
President Johnson: The Judicial Board, right?
Veronica Chaplin: Yes. And so if any of these feel like they're bringing any interest to you, you feel like you could bring something new or unique or just your own viewpoint to any of these groups, I think this would be a great opportunity for involvement because there are so much that people bring of themselves into this. I feel even just being in a Judicial Board myself or JB that I feel that, I learned so much more about what's happening on campus and the clubs and so if you feel like public relationships might not be the right thing for you, but maybe you really like bylaws or it sounds like something you might be interested in, I think ASGRC is the perfect place for students to have their voice heard and be able to hear and be involved in what's happening here on campus.
President Johnson: That's great. And so the application process for a Senator, they fill out a paper application that they can get at the student government offices. And then you said that they are interviews. Who interviews them?
Veronica Chaplin: We do.
President Johnson: Okay, so the ASGRC leadership students are the ones who interview Senators and then you all make the selection?
Veronica Chaplin: Yeah. Funnily enough, Rosie was actually the one who interviewed me for Chief Justice.
Rosie (Omjee) Son: Yeah.
Veronica Chaplin: Yes, the interview process is between three of us and we have one of our supervisors there as well. And we just go through a list of questions. We just wanna learn a little bit more about you and why you're interested in ASGRC. It is not supposed to be, a crazy pressure interview where you feel like we're gonna be pulling stuff out of left field. Like, no. It's all about just why you're interested, what you think you could bring and what you think could be changed for the better here at Green River. So if you are at all interested, please don't get turned away by the idea of an interview because really it's low pressure. We just wanna hear a little bit more about you so we can see where you would fit in and as being part of ASGRC.
President Johnson: Okay. Well, it sounds like with 16 Senators and their year a piece in terms of their terms, there's a lot of openings coming up for the next year. So for all the student listeners here, make sure you have time to stop by the Student Union. And on the second floor of the Student Government Association offices, you can pick up an application to be a Senator if you'd like to get involved. And also you'd wanna pay attention and watch for the candidates announcements in terms of who your potential next year President and Vice President will be because apparently they're gonna be campaigning for two months before an election, according to the rules have just been having described to me from our student leaders. So where else can we find information about ASGRC? We already talked about the website. We've talked about where their offices are. Veronica, where else can we find information about GRC?
Veronica Chaplin: Well, thank you for asking, President Johnson. We do have both the Facebook and Instagram to increase student involvement, who maybe just wanna learn about more that's happening online. So our Facebook is Green River ASGRC and we have GRC student life Instagram, but we wanna create an ASGRC Instagram. So hopefully that'll be completed in the future as another Instagram for people specifically interested in what's happening in Senate currently. But our main Instagram as of now is GRC student life. And our Facebook is Green River ASGRC.
President Johnson: That's fantastic. Well, before we say a farewell today, any last words that you'd like to share with our listeners before we finish off our podcast today?
Veronica Chaplin: I like to think about the quote that's "If something needs to be changed, why not me?" If I wanna see something be different, why do I have to wait for someone else to do it? So if you're listening to this and there's something on campus you're not happy with or something you'd like to see changed or a voice of part of a community that you feel is not being heard, we really feel like being part of ASRGC or coming and talking to people who are a part of ASGRC is the perfect way to have that voice be heard. We are here on campus to serve student life. So just make sure that while you're here at Green River, you're feeling that you are being heard and that you belong as President Johnson said, how important that is. So we are here to serve you and serve what you wanna see here on campus. So just make sure that you realize sources are here available, and if you feel like even with that something is not being done, we welcome you to apply to be a senator and make that voice or community heard because you are the person who can make the change you wanna see here on campus.
President Johnson: Absolutely. Excellent. So you have been listening today to Floyd, Rosie, and Veronica, all student government leaders on our campus. They're closing out their terms this year. They're trying to get you all engaged with next year's opportunities for leadership. 16 Senator slots waiting to be claimed. And also announcing pretty quickly started this spring term. Our positions or candidates for the student of President and student Vice President. So keep your eyes peeled on that. So with that, let me just say for well to our listeners today. You have been listening to GatorCast, Green River College's official podcast of Green River College. To find us online, you can go to greenriver.edu/gatorcast, G-A-T-O-R-C-A-S-T. This is Suzanne Johnson. Have a great day.