New school year brings changes to SMC

This semester, students will be seeing a number of changes at Santa Monica College. One of the most notable changes is the new SMC website ( The goal of the new website is to be more aesthetically pleasing and easier to use. Rolled out by SectorPoint, a web design and development company, the website uses a "recycled" layout, a marked improvement over the "1990s Internet Explorer style" of the previous one.

Another notable change is the swipe system on the back of SMC student ID cards. The swipe system's primary function is for the Big Blue Bus, which SMC students are entitled to ride for free. The swipe system was incorporated to ease certain administrative activities on campus and for the Big Blue Bus to have more accurate readings of SMC ridership. With the swipe cards, the Big Blue Bus will be able to determine exact numbers on how many students are riding, their particular routes, and what time they're riding. This information will be used in the hope of optimizing the bus schedule in Santa Monica.

For students who do not frequent the public transportation system, a new rideshare program called Zimride has been recently implemented as well. Spearheaded by the new Associated Students President Harrison Wills and Inter-Club Council Chairman David Stavis, Zimride provides a unique means of commuting to school. Users of the website post their travel schedule onto a social networking platform much like Facebook, and connect with other SMC students in their area to make up a carpool.

Other new things the AS is working on is a book limit. Many students have had teachers that assigned at least four different mandatory books for their course, which often leads to students spending a great deal at the student book store. By limiting the amount of books any one professor can assign as mandatory reading, the AS hopes to save students money.

Every year brings changes, and this year is no different. Still, there is a feeling of more dramatic changes taking place on campus this year. The financial crisis in recent years has forced SMC into some serious self-reflection. The Associated Students and the Board of Trustees of SMC are now looking inward to reduce costs and improve functionality. In other words, the changes returning students see may very well just be the beginning of an overhaul of campus life.