Viewpoints talks with ASRCC president

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By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer

By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer

Viewpoints recently had the opportunity to sit down with  Jonathan Flike, the president of the associated students of Riverside City College and Joey Reynoso, the vice president of ASRCC.

Among the topics discussed were the economy, budget cuts, administration evaluation, outreach and fundraising for the college.

When it came to the economy both Flike and Reynoso wanted RCC students to know that even they are experiencing economic turmoil.

“Even at the tippy top at our student government, there are people that are still affected. I have to work on weekends and am no longer able to focus my academic time on schooling,” said Flike.

“It’s difficult since I have to split my focus and you aren’t able to do as well as you should do,” said Flike.

Reynoso revealed that he is also experiencing economic hardships.

“I am currently working two jobs. I haven’t been able to purchase my books for my classes since I am still waiting for my financial aid,” said Reynoso. “I realize that there are a lot of students who struggle with similar issues and that is something that should be taken into account by the teacher. If the students aren’t doing their work we can’t always assume these are lazy students.”

As expected many of the clubs and ASRCC themselves have experienced severe budget cuts.

“We are now trying to do more for our students with a lot less, which is very difficult,” said Flike. “Where the clubs in the student body are used to a larger budget they are realizing that we can’t do what we used to.”

However, in the face of adversity Flike and Reynoso are seeking methods and projects that will bring funds to RCC.

On the top of the agenda is insuring that the funds give to the clubs are being utilized in a proper fashion and going to what their intended purpose was.

“What we are doing to keep people accountable this year we are going to have another mid-year budget hearing to see if clubs have used their allotted expenses for said items,” said Reynoso.

Where originally there wasn’t a huge emphasis on fundraiser in previous years, Reynoso and Flike have made this their priority with new creative ideas.

One of their first projects is in cooperation with the food services department that will bring in revenue as well as save students money.

          “Students can purchase a refillable cup with the RCC logo for five dollars, refills will cost one dollar,” said Flike. “It’s a great discount to the students and it’s a great fundraising opportunity for us.”

Reynoso revealed to Viewpoints that he is spearheading a rummage sale that will be open to students and public alike. Clubs will be holding their own rummage sales and all then profits will go to their respective clubs.

 “There is a lot of support out in the community,” said Reynoso. “We just need to give them an opportunity to give back to us.”

Reynoso is looking to generate funds with a diversity conference that will take place at the end of diversity week. Student will be charged a three dollar fee and will have access to various workshops.

“Great advantage for any student who wants to put it on their resume or even speak at the conference to put it on their resume,” said Reynoso. “It will be on any cultural or issue relating to diversity so it will be very beneficial to political science, anthropology, or any humanities major.”

One of the biggest things that Reynoso and Flike are pushing for is Proposition 1481.

According to Proposition 1481’s official website, the proposition will place a 15 percent extraction fee on crude oil that is extracted from California.

If it passes it will generate $3 billion for California education. Approximately $1.5 billion will be specifically designated for California community colleges in hope of lowering tuition and restoring any classes that may have been cut.

“If students want to make a difference don’t keep complaining to people who you never see. Or if you are not going to go to a Board of Trustee meeting than you can make a direct difference by signing that petition and voting for Proposition 1481,” said Reynoso

In addition to those projects both Reynoso and Flike are looking for support from the administration. Namely RCC President Cynthia Azari and Chancellor Gregory Gray.

“What I would like to see from Cynthia Azari is approval of the RCC street fair. That is something that’s been shown that will bring in a lot of money,” said Flike. “With ASRCC being broke, the street fair will bring in a lot of money that would fund the events on campus and fund the quality of life that the students were used to before the budget cuts”

When questioned as to how they feel she is doing overall they understood where her thought process was.

“She is very careful in assessing the situation at the RCC campus. She wants to have more feedback and more understanding of what students on this campus are doing. I think future events and the future of RCC will be gauged off of that,” said Reynoso.

As far as their opinion on the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Gregory Gray, Flike believes he is doing what is expected of them.

“I believe the trustees and Chancellor Gray are doing the as good of a job as they can will the current economic situation,” said Flike. “A lot of our funding comes through land taxes for the community colleges with the housing market collapsing these are problems that are far outside the district, these are problems with Sacramento.”

Flike wants Sacramento to do more.  

“If anything I just want to see a greater push to make sure that funds are allocated properly and being sent to the colleges,” said Flike.

Reynoso elaborates on why students should not immediately place the blame on the Board of Trustees.

“Contrary to popular belief the Board of Trustees can’t simply just wave their hands and suddenly there be more money for this college,” said Reynoso. “I think a lot of liability and responsibly is on the students and most students need to be aware that if they can make a change, they should make a change.”

ASRCC has encouraged students to become more involved with their student government and RCC.

“Over the summer I did a whole re-branding strategy for ASRCC. They now have logos and brochures and the marketing material are revamped,” said Flike. “I really want to create an excitement about the ASRCC and I think we were successful.”

As the Chairman of the ASRCC Senate, Reynoso is pushing for ASRCC to put more emphasis on outreach.

“One resolution that just passed recently is to continue outreach and have it at least be a weekly event,” said Reynoso. “We’ll be asking students different issues that will be on the Senate agendas. We’ll be getting there feedback and using it as part of our research and part of our voting so that we can more accurately represent the students.”

Reynoso is attempting to transform all the discussions to actual action that will change RCC for the better.

“The Senate will be definitely be a presence to be seen on campus this upcoming semester,” said Reynoso. “You’ll hear your voice represented much more. You’ll see actual issues executed and put into action instead of just being a topic of discussion.”

Both Flike and Reynoso encourage students to simply get involved. Regardless if it is ASRCC, a club, a program or simply just staying aware of what is going on at RCC.

“They need to get involved this year because if the cuts continues and fee increases continue there may not be an education for people two generations down the line here at RCC,” said Flike. “If they are not active now I would really call them out to be active because this isn’t going to be here forever if we remain apathetic.”

In the end both Reynoso and Flike remain optimistic over the coming year and are excited for the future.

“We’re working really hard; I have a great team this year. I’m really excited, we have great chairs in Senate I think we are going to get a lot of the changes done that we want to get changed,” said Flike. “Just get involved. There are no limitations to what you can do.”

Flike and Reynoso are doing many things this year for the students.  

“Just remember too that we are people that are really passionate about you and very passionate for this cause,” said Reynoso.

“We are not taking time off away from our classes just for the fun of it or because we want something to look good on a transcript. We’re people who actually care about student needs and student issues and we may have a voice in the system, but you have a voice also. All I have to say is go ahead and raise your voice and let’s all raise our voices together and create some change,” said Reynoso

Click here to watch the entire interview on video.

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