Leadership changes regarding administrative positions have long been a topic of discussion at Contra Costa College. However, when similar shifts occur in student leadership, little is known of the adjustments.
At a time when the general direction of the campus was in question because of student and administrative governance, the Associated Student Union (ASU) has seemed to turn the corner by putting the right people in place to correct previous mistakes.
Last semester, the ASU ended the term thousands of dollars in the red following a failed attempt to rebrand the organization.
Initial attempts by ASU members to recoup the money intended for students were unsuccessful, however, they expect to receive the balance of the goods including business cards and a new website in the coming year.
Lately, this current batch of senators has approached their positions as student body representatives with a renewed fervor and focus to provide better representation.
This semester, students were more involved in the decision-making process.
They offered suggestions in committee meetings and had a seat at the table when the criteria were developed that would select the next interim president.
Initially, these students purged the ASU of members who were not pulling their weight. They also incentivized being a productive student senator by amending the group’s bylaws.
The modification introduced a rule that made the semester stipend that ASU members receive contingent on their meeting the totality of obligations agreed to when the member is elected or appointed.
When the semester ends, members of the ASU Board receive a stipend corresponding to their position. According to previously drafted bylaws, they are $500 per executive, $350 per director and $250 per senator.
In the past, many in the campus community have been critical of the ASU for being compiled with mostly Middle College High School students.
Those students seemed to be out of touch, because of age or experience, with the average student at CCC.
However, this group of high school leaders offers a glimpse into what is possible through effective leadership and an infrastructure that holds each member accountable for their actions.
ASU President Preston Akubuo-Onwuemeka, an MCHS student, is already a small business owner who works to advance local children toward Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
He co-founded the non-profit organization, richmondCodes, with his classmate Shreejal Luitel when he was just 15 years old.
RichmondCodes brings free software coding workshops to elementary and secondary schools the West Contra Costa Unified School District, where most of the students grow up in low-income families.
Luitel serves as student trustee on the Governing Board of the Contra Costa Community College District.
The ASU on campus has corrected past mistakes through dedication and youthful ingenuity with no guiding example from college administrators.
They are the true example of leadership on campus.