A harmony of footsteps echoes through the halls of Truckee Meadows Community College once more, and with it, a blank canvas on which to decorate all the hues of your aspirations and achievements. Fall Semester has begun, and there’s never been a better time to get involved with events and activities your Student Government Association (SGA) has planned for you. Think of them as the flourishes adorning your college experience masterpiece, and a wholesome outlet for campus community connectedness.
Service, Lead, Inspire
Events afford students integration into campus life, enhancing a joyful piece of them. Student governments are more than just event planners, though. Crafting policy, deliberating how to implement more access to education, even conceptualizing schedule-friendly classes all come with the territory. At some schools, elected student government officials even sit on the board of trustees and vote on major decisions.
John Fenton is President of the Student Government Association, and we enjoyed a promising conversation about student government duty, clubs, SGA officers, and endeavors to strengthen the college and community.
“For me, I think it all begins and ends in equity. There needs to be a certain fundamental fairness,” he said.
Collaborative events are the doctrine from which successful student engagement can be measured. Bringing different departments and groups together is a “return investment on their education,” as long as we split the bill.
“I think our events that we’re going to do this year will be top-notch. I’ve worked very closely with Keith Bingham. He brings a whole world of experience from large universities,” he said.
If you weren't able to make it to the SGA Welcome Week events earlier, don't worry! The festivities extend through Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 at the library in the William N. Pennington Health Center from 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. As a token of appreciation for new and returning students, our stylish SWAG bags will be available. What’s a SWAG bag, you may ask? It’s a logoed tote bag, stuffed to the brim with school supplies, TMCC loot, and useful information from a number of resources for TMCC students. It's a delightful way to kick it with friends, get familiar with your student government senators, and indulge yourself with some donuts and coffee. Just what any growing Lizard needs.
“Usually the largest event (of the semester) is always the food and truck fair. We have the climbing wall, we have all the clubs there. We give them the opportunity to be there. Sometimes that works, sometimes that doesn’t, but I’m hoping that reaching out early, like we have been, will create good participation. We’re dependent upon those advisers, those staff members who are passionate about the clubs and issues that they address.”
Speaking of leadership, did you know that an open position is readily attainable? If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at student government, and gain an abundance of professional experience along your journey, now’s the time. If you feel like you’re a qualified candidate, don’t hesitate to apply via Handshake, put in your resume, and prepare for an interview. You’ve really got nothing to lose.
“I love that we serve the community. The way I see community college is that it creates hope for a generation. You’re willing to sacrifice. It’s going to be difficult, challenging. Most of it is time management, and a little bit of how much pain you can take, but you get through it,” Fenton reflected.
Great Leaders Begin as Great Followers
As a member of SGA, you get to take part in building a welcoming campus environment. Improving daily life is within your capacity, acquiring contemporary equipment for accessibility purposes and student satisfaction. When students need to address safety and security concerns, they often turn to SGA members first. On top of it all, plentiful career advancement opportunities are possible, concurrent with attending leadership training conferences and cultivating your skillset. There’s a certain humbling empowerment you’ll feel which complements admirable acts; gathering with decision makers and exercising your talent.
Your SGA leaders are a squad of vibrant, gifted individuals:
- Senator Brayson Gomez and Senator Sophia Bauman have been best friends since they were four years old, running together on the same poster. Gomez wishes to go to med school, and Bauman is a spirited advocate for sustainability, the environment and techniques we can practice to become better stewards of our planet. “Since my first day at TMCC, I’ve noticed the SGA and all the amazing things they do for the campus and students. After I found out that I was able to join, I knew that I wanted to be part of the SGA and contribute to the positive impact that they have,” said Gomez.
- Senator Miyu Uesugi is an international student from Japan.
- Senator Iarley Luna-Mercado is discovering his voice, in a way that warrants him to flourish and determine what he’ll undertake in his studies.
- Senator Lucille Purnell has a devout adoration for library sciences and anthropology, actively working at the stronghold of literature herself. Purnell is a student with disabilities, interested in involvement with the disabilities resource committee; promoting awareness that we all have different abilities, and those abilities need to be fulfilled and supported.
“I’m deeply passionate about my team on the SGA,” Fenton said. “Currently, we just finished a ropes course in team building that we did up at Project Discovery. It was phenomenal to meet some of them for the first time. They’re bright, young, and talented men and women. We talked about our goals and different things that we want to achieve. Schools work best when you meet the students where they are.”
As a political science major, veteran and father, Fenton is especially dedicated to introducing shared governance, legislation drafting, and the amelioration of poverty to his SGA team.
“When I went into the army at seventeen, it was basically like my mom couldn’t feed us anymore. At that time, she had gotten hurt on the job, so she used that money to go to a community college. She became a phlebotomist. She’s been gainfully employed, and got my two younger siblings through college. It completely changed the outcome of our family,” Fenton reminisced.
What Interests You?
Clubs continue to be an exceptional place to form relationships with those who share similar interests. Not to mention, it’s an attractive item to have on your resume; however, for extracurricular activities to be truly inclusive, it’s imperative they are designed to afford opportunities that are obtainable to a wide range of fascinated students.
“I highly encourage people in club membership, and I believe that is the most equitable way to drive forward clubs. Right from its membership, and then let them express the identity that is TMCC,” Fenton said.
Fenton also spoke of a potential car club in the works at the Pennington Applied Technology Center. There’s a whole host of spectacles throughout the year in Northern Nevada that celebrate vehicles in all their motorized glory. Some people just have oil running through their veins. It’s an ambitious program that could generate plenty of students who are enamored with automobiles, and engagement would look to be a surefire thing.
Bingham and Student Organizations Assistant Katie Avery will help interested students throughout the entirety of the process involved in chartering a club. They’ll advise you on compiling your bylaws, constitutions, formatting procedures and guidance on anything else you may request. If there’s something that appeals to you, chances are there’s other students who find it appealing, too.
“Clubs can also support academics. I strongly encourage people who are passionate about their fields, whether it’s English, journalism, political science, business, art, history, any of those things, to create a club that centers around that,” Fenton said.
Your student government body will consistently endorse TMCC’s most valuable asset: its students. Our college interwoven into the loyal communities neighboring it give promise for a year filled with enthusiasm and learning. Let’s make it a good one.
“This place gave me a new hope, a new opportunity. I know in this world we can’t always control outcomes, but we can always provide more opportunity. I view this place as the community’s college. It is representative of our community, and I love the entire Truckee Meadows,” said Fenton.