This year, the Associated Students (AS) has made a focused effort to include the college’s satellite campuses, such as the Foothill and Rosemead sites, in all the activities occurring on the main campus.
Efforts to keep the inclusion going are already in effect, with AS President Kiely Lam instructing the newly elected student body about the importance of keeping the sites involved.
“One of the things we try to do with our more traditional events [Relaxation Week, homecoming, etc] … is try to focus our energy on how we can disperse these events onto the satellite campuses,” Lam said. “The turnout isn’t usually as big as the stuff over here, so we will have a table and have some of our committee members hand out free food.”
In addition to their events, AS has held one of their executive board meetings at both Foothill and Rosemead sites this semester. In the past they would hold only one annual meeting at Rosemead.
Assistant Superintendent/VP of Non-Credit Off-site Campuses Robert Bell who oversees the Foothill site has witnessed AS’ involvement with the students.
“AS has hosted activities across the academic year to support the Foothill campus,” Bell said in an email. “Included among these activities is a “Tea Party” hosted by [them] on June 5th for Foothill campus students to relax and socialize before the upcoming exam weeks.”
Rosemead Director Raquel Torres-Retana has seen a big increase in the efforts for inclusion over the years.
“AS has taken initiative, so every semester there’s more of a presence from [them] here,” Torres-Retana said. “Whatever is happening at the ‘mother’ campus AS has been very good at ensuring that Rosemead has an equitable reflection.”
Bell shares the same sentiments as his Rosemead representative.
“AS has done an excellent job outreaching to the Foothill campus throughout the year and has successfully connected with the students here,” Bell said. “The students here, both in Noncredit programs and those in the credit Health Sciences and Cosmetology programs appreciate the Associated Students for the concern and in being included as a part of the activities of AS this year.”
Despite the improvement in visibility that AS has shown to these sites, this wasn’t the case not that long ago. Almost a year ago, the Courier reported that in the midst of the Rosemead site trying to build a community, there was this “tension” of feeling less important than the main campus.
For example, according to Rosemead Club President Christopher Theung at the time, there were English as a Second Language (ESL) students that couldn’t speak up for themselves to get help at the main campus, so they would go to Rosemead to get seen on Fridays and Saturdays because they “don’t get seen as much on the main campus.”
“We wholeheartedly acknowledge that, which is why we wanted to do something about it,” Lam said. “Yes, they’re a distance away from us, and it can be hard to get people out there too sometimes because we’re students, but at the same time we ran to be on AS for a reason.”
To make sure the inclusion continues moving forward, AS is also trying to figure out how to create some form of position on the board that would be dedicated strictly to serving the Foothill and Rosemead sites.
Although it’s still in the talks, their idea is to try to start it off as an ad-hoc committee. In terms of the structure of the position, they’re thinking of having one person who will chair it (Pres/VP) and having one representative from each of their respective committees being on it as well. The purpose is to see what’s more efficient and what can get done quicker because they’re wanting to make sure that this is something that will happen.
“So we’ll test it out starting with the board next year … and if we see that it was very effective … then they will start putting it in as an official position,” Lam said.
Lam explained that last year when she was AS VP for Cultural Diversity, the goals were different because it all depends on who’s running the board and the overall goals they want to accomplish. She admits that although the sites were a part of the conversation, somehow, over time, they have taken a back seat. Now the topic of discussion is equity, and it’s the constant in the meetings.
“This year, the approach that we took whether it was cultural diversity, sustainability or business, has [been] an equitable [one],” Lam said. “You can’t talk about being equitable for the school when you’re not even including all of the schools.”
Lam says she gives credit to Theung for for wanting to make the satellites feel included in the main campus’ activities. It was his involvement and passion that inspired the idea to put together the position that will fight for Foothill and Rosemead’s needs and make sure that both sites are a part of the conversation.
“A lot of our outreach this year, I owe it all to him because he has cared enough to make sure that AS is being held accountable for what we should do,” Lam said. “So we’re super grateful for him.”
But Dr. Torres-Retana goes even further by saying that initial “baby steps” started with former AS president Irving Morales, who, according to her, held their first AS meeting at Rosemead.
“I think that was two springs ago,” Torres-Retana said. “After that, with [last year’s AS President] Julia Russo we saw a little bit more, and now with Kiely, we’re seeing much more.”
With the semester’s end getting close and next year’s AS executive board elected, one of the things that the current board is trying to make sure they pass along is the importance of including Rosemead and Foothill in everything that they do. Lam said there is no excuse for the board to not reach out to them because they’re just as important as the main campus.
The site’s representatives are glad AS made their presence known this year and are looking forward to what’s next.
“AS are to be congratulated for the focused and deliberate and outreach to and programming for the students on Foothill campus,” Bell said. “The students have gained a great a much better understanding and appreciation of AS as a result.”
For Dr. Bell, it’s about how their presence and their actions have benefitted Foothill, while for Torres-Retana, it’s more about not being left out of the conversation.
“I don’t believe now, [at this point] that AS has forgotten about Rosemead,” Torres-Retana said. “We may be out of sight, but I don’t feel we’re out of mind.”