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Student government hosts forum

by Michaela Marcellino
The Student Government Association (SGA)of Volunteer State Community College had their SGA Presidential Forum Monday, Oct. 2. This was an opportunity for the SGA to present questions from students about a wide range of topics relevant to Volunteer State. Presidential forums happen once a semester.
Those on the panel for the Fall 2016 forum included Vol State president, Jerry Faulkner, as well as coordinator of communications and public relations Eric Melcher, assistant vice president of student services Talia Koronkiewicz, assistant vice president of academic affairs George Pimentel, chief information officer Kevin Blankenship, assistant vice president of business and technology Renee Austin, and director of plant operations, William Newman.
The SGA Forum covered many different topics, from on-campus child care, to Wi-Fi issues, to future landscaping plans. Questions were also asked about if Vol State will ever have a health clinic, if students will be able to receive a text if a class is cancelled, and much more.
The panel provided answers. On the Wi-Fi issue, it is being worked on, and should be fixed soon. About text alerts, there are two types: One for emergencies such as evacuations and the like, and the other is for important campus information in general.
As of right now, the technology to separate text alerts by class does not exist. However, if a class gets cancelled completely, the division over that class will personally call each student to let them know. Students are encouraged to make sure their phone number in their online student account is correct. On the issues of a Vol State health clinic and on-campus child care, there are no immediate plans for either. Many more issues were discussed as well.
“[The faculty] responded well [at the forum]. I think some of the initiatives are actually being addressed, being sent to where they need to be sent, and getting to where they need to get to.
These are actual student concerns that are being addressed. The questions on our question list that did not get asked will be getting written responses. I think that is a really good thing, I think [the forum] is opening up some dialog that has been a long time coming,” said Sandra Hunt, the president of the SGA. The SGA posed questions, and then afterward opened the floor to give any student present the opportunity to ask the panel a question.
“What could have been done better, is that I wish we would have had more live student questions. The student questions that were posed by the SGA were gathered from our student organization. I wish we would have had more students here, live in the environment asking questions,” said Kenny Yabrough, director of student life and diversity initiatives.
“This is the eight or ninth SGA forum I have been a part of. This happens once a semester, and I have been here a little over four and a half years. This always a good opportunity to meet with students, answer their questions, and hear back from the students as well. So I think this is typically a really good opportunity,” said Faulkner. “This is the third college that I have worked at, and the first time I have ever been a part of an SGA open forum. I’m thrilled to see that the SGA is taking the initiative to even have an event like this, and that the administration is so willing to be involved in it. This is a wonderful way to have transparent communication, and to answer the questions students have,” said Koronkiewicz.
Students not involved in the SGA were also in attendance, listening to the forum. “I think if the café changes its menu, they’ll lose business, because if they start the calorie count, pretty soon it’ll be an all healthy food, and students will just go to McDonalds,” said Vol State student Oressa Jackson. “I think the forum went well, but I think there should be more student interaction,” said another Vol State student Clara West.
“I think its really good that they give us the opportunity to ask questions. It shows that they really care about their students,” said another student, Vincenza Colavolpe.

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