AS report: Mid-semester progress

At the midpoint of the semester, one student has been at work making sure her presidential campaign promises do not go unfulfilled.

Ty Moura, president of the Associated Students at Santa Monica College, has been busy working on projects that were only in their baby stages at the start of the semester.

The lowering of food prices in the cafeteria is an ongoing project, and one that Moura helms.

“In the cafeteria, we were able to get a five percent discount with the Campus Kitchen,” Moura said.

The discount applies to students who have paid the AS membership fees and show a valid SMC identification card.

She also explained the “bring your own mug” deal at TCBY and Campus Kitchen, where students can receive at least a $0.30 discount for bringing in their own mugs.

In order to accommodate those who do not eat meat, Moura said Eat Street is set to integrate a vegan and vegetarian bar into their current menu, planned for the spring.

“Talking with the owners of these businesses made me realize that [the food] is very sustainable already, which most students don’t know,” she said. “The AS is going to partner with [the businesses] and try to show the students how they’re doing the procedures in a sustainable way and how they’re ordering organic food and things of the sort.”

Moura organized the opening of the documentary film “Inequality for All” by Robert Reich at Landmark Theatres on Pico Boulevard on Sept. 27.

“We purchased 50 tickets for a special screening, and then in the end [Reich] came in person and talked to the students and answered questions, so it was really cool,” she said.

The motive for the screening was to help students gain a better understanding of economic inequality, Moura said.

“There is a balance,” Moura said. “Things are all interconnected, and if you watch the film, you can really understand how things are all really connected with each other.”

After receiving many complaints from students about the cost it takes to replace a student ID card, Moura was able to work out a “no expedite” option with the administration. The option would give students a choice of either requesting a new ID and waiting a few weeks to receive it free of charge, or paying the normal replacement fee of $29 to receive it immediately.

Some projects, like the discount network, a project in which Moura gathered local businesses and arranged discounts with each one for student members of the AS, have been put on hold. Others, such as the Civic Engagement Program, have already been initiated.

Still in its early stages, the CEP, spearheaded by Alex Vandertol, AS vice-president, would allow students to team up with the AS in finding local volunteer opportunities in order to receive community service credit.

“We have partnered with several different community organizations that will help us provide students with volunteer opportunities,” Moura said.

With so many ongoing projects, convincing students to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act has been a consistent goal on the AS agenda.

Michael Greenberg, AS director of publicity, has taken it upon himself to inform students about the enrollment process.

Greenberg said that after the University of Southern California received a grant from the federal government to provide information on the ACA, they approached the AS about informing SMC students.

The grant of $500,000 was given to USC for the funding of tables, booths and workshops, to explain how to sign up for health insurance, according to the California Health Benefit Exchange’s website.

“Currently, we have people from the campus who are doing outreach education, but are not trained enough to be an enrollment counselor,” said Greenberg, explaining that outreach educators do not actually enroll students, but inform them of how to do so.

He said enrollment counselors deal with personal information, such as social security numbers, that outreach educators are not qualified to receive.

Current outreach educators who have held workshops and set up tables in the quad will eventually be fully trained as enrollment counselors, Greenberg said.

Moura said her inaugural semester as AS president has been more about brainstorming, and that next semester will be more productive with the stepping stones already in place to take action.

“I’m actually very excited because I’ve learned that as student leaders, our biggest power is within education and speech,” Moura said. “So if we provide students with inspiring events, inspiring guest speakers, and things that will motivate them to be better people, that’s the best way we can contribute to their success.”