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Council selected to plan system for next student government

Student Leadership Office
The Student Leadership Office is located on the first floor of the Student Center next to the Farside Room.

A group of eight people has been hired to research and plan a new system of student government at Grand Rapids Community College. Hired late last semester by Sara Dorer, the director of Student Life and Conduct, the group is called the Student Leadership Advisory Council.

Dorer said the council will be evaluating the structure of the group formerly known as Student Congress as they make plans for the next system. Each member is assigned a specific job to carry out this project. In addition, they will be serving on GRCC committees in student liaison roles in the place of the former Student Congress executive board.

The following list shows the members of the Student Leadership Advisory Council and their liaison roles:

Hope Cronkright – Food Pantry
Caleb Heikoop – Strategic Leadership Team
Vincent James – Strategic Leadership Team
Scott Parker – Student Feedback Management Team
Ross L. Pike – 100 Year Planning Committee, Academic Governing Council
Grade Appeal Hearing Committee
Leslie Redmon – Student Discipline Hearing Committee
Travis Slooter – Crisis Management Team
Chaka White – Diversity Team

“Some of the things they’re looking at is…the student congress, as it had existed, was really heavily involved in working with our clubs and (organizations),” Dorer said. “Well was that their job, or is their job to be more the voice of the student?

“When you break it down, what is the essential purpose and mission of Student Congress, and let’s get back to that. If we were away from that, let’s get back to that essential mission and purpose and really provide for the students what they’re looking for.”

Prior to planning the structure for the future student government, the council members are conducting a great deal of research.

“The primary focus for this team for the next two months will be getting feedback, hearing the student voices, trying to find out from people what they think,” Dorer said.

Council members will be randomly surveying people around campus to get their opinions about how a student government should be run.

Parker, 39, who is in charge of the student feedback, is passionate about making opportunities available and getting feedback from representatives of every type of student at GRCC.

“There are a lot of students there who work at night who don’t get to take advantage of the opportunities during the day,” Parker said. “They’re not getting to take advantage of the fees that they are being charged.” All GRCC students are charged a campus activities fee, $10 for full time students and $5 for part time students, but most activities are done before night classes begin.

Another way they’re planning on getting student feedback is through planned focus groups, during which all students will be invited to participate in roundtable student government discussions led by council members. Tentatively, there will be two groups at the Lakeshore Campus and three at the Main Campus, starting in February, according to Pike, 20.

Besides student feedback, Dorer said each member of the council was also assigned to do some research, which Pike has begun.

“Every person was assigned several schools to look into,” Pike said. They are collecting data from a number of Michigan community colleges about the structure of their student governments and how they manage their campus activities fee if they have one.

There are four open meetings, similar to the former Student Congress meetings, set to take place once the council members have completed their research. Dorer hopes to have ideas to present by the first meeting and have a decision about how to move forward by the final meeting.

The meeting dates are:

March 14
March 28
April 11
April 25

Dorer said the council memebers will be available during their two required office hours in the new Student Leadership Office connected to the Farside Room on the first floor of the Student Center.

Dorer formed the Student Leadership Advisory Council after the former executive board members decided to disband Student Congress in September after the recall of former Vice President Jeffrey Noel and the disciplinary removal of former Budget Director Anthony Provenzano. The group disbanded while Dorer was transitioning into her current role, in which she would have advised Student Congress.

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