AS elections to take place in April

Santa Monica College has drawn nationwide controversy for allegedly being the first community college in the nation to offer a two-tier tuition system. While some SMC students have criticized the system through a series of ongoing protests, other students are seeking leadership positions in order to seize power and internally change the system. The SMC Associated Students are currently holding elections for next year’s Board of Directors. According to Inter-Club Council chair David Stavis, there are  currently 13 candidates for positions ranging from president to director of publicity. Stavis says that the number of candidates has doubled from around this time last year.

According to Stavis, SMC students lack necessary information when it comes to student government and its services.

“They don’t feel like they can come to the student government,” Stavis says. “It doesn’t seem accessible.”

Stavis believes that student government amendments have to stem “from the actual student populace,” as students are “the first step to change the student environment,” he says.

The Board of Directors works to assist the student body, and provide them with the best possible environment to enhance their college experience. Aside from their responsibility to advocate student rights, their goal is to help resolve current problems such as budget management, sustainability and academic support, among others.

State budget cuts are directly impacting higher education and thus SMC students in a variety of ways, such as getting necessary classes, transferring to four-year institutions, and having access to a larger pool of scholarships and financial aid options.

Stavis says students can help manage those challenges by reaching out to the student government.

“You can come in to the office with those things in mind and change them,” Stavis says. “You can improve the situation.”

Stavis claims to have benefitted from his position as ICC chair. “The moment I decided to fill in the vacant leadership position is when my life changed,” he says. “I feel more confident to work and lead a group of people, and I started my own company.”

The knowledge and experience gained as a member of the AS Board of Directors can be a valuable addition to a student’s resume, according to Stavis. He says that it gives students the opportunity to make a difference for the better, and improve leadership skills.

Submitting an application requires at least a 2.0 GPA, and enrollment in a minimum of 8 units. The deadline to submit an application to the AS office is April 18 at 3 p.m.

“We would like to see students who haven’t tried this before, and who genuinely want to make things better,” says Stavis. “They can have amazing impact on student’s lives.”