Grand Rapids Community College’s Student Alliance met Sept. 8 to discuss their annual budget, review documents, and have a conversation with the students who attended. View the meeting stream here.
The first item on the agenda was the annual budget. The Student Alliance budget is funded by the Student Activities Fee that all GRCC students pay when they pay their tuition. Part time students pay $5 and full time students pay $10. This year the annual budget is an estimated $220,000. This includes money that rolled over from last year’s budget.
After reviewing the budget items, the meeting attendees unanimously voted to approve the annual budget. Student Alliance President Pablo Villalvazo explained that student clubs and organizations can now apply for funding from Student Alliance.
Next on the agenda was document review. Assistant Director of Student Life and Student Alliance Advisor Ashley Fox reviewed the Guiding Document and the Student Organization Manual. The Guiding Document details Student Alliance objectives, membership, and leadership procedures. The Student Organization Manual lists procedures around all things Student Life.
The meeting closed out with open discussion about student mental health and student employee wages. Student Alliance Communications Director Gabriella Armstead brought up a conversation she had with a GRCC counselor about potential annual meetings for students to sit down and vent.
“They don’t have that type of thing,” Armstead said. “We have occupational support but…it’s hard to get into those (appointments)…or they’re always like ‘oh well we can just call.’ Some people don’t want to just sit on the phone…some people like to do face-to-face and have that time and space for themselves.”
Both Armstead and Student Alliance External Affairs Director Shantasia King emphasized that they would like to see student worker wages increase. Armstead highlighted that, other than scheduling flexibility, student workers don’t get any benefits or perks along with their jobs.
Armstead also said the student workers pay $3.50 to park to go to work, so the $12.50 the college pays them isn’t actually the net income for the student worker. “I’m a student worker…we’re barely even getting any benefits and we’re always the ones at the front of the line,” she said. “So we have to deal with people coming in sometimes who are having a hard time so they’re giving us issues, and then we have other people in the back getting angry at us because we’re not doing something right…We’re not getting paid the amount we should be getting paid.”
Student Alliance is hiring for the position of Operations Director. View the application here. There are four Student Alliance leadership positions, but only three are currently occupied and they’re looking to fill the fourth.