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Middle men and women of Palo Alto have your back

By Joshua Tadeo | Pulse Staff Reporter

Inside a quiet hallway, tucked behind glass windows reading “SGA,” a schedule listing office hours and senators’ names is posted.

Pinedo - SGA
Senator of Public Relations Sandra Piñedo

Past the hallway lies the busy cafeteria, but when students are asked where the Student Government Association is or what they do, no one says a word.

Plans to integrate student and staff involvement to enrich campus life and to promote the SGA are in the works. Some plans include posting headshots of each senator and wearing forest green uniforms so that students can easily identify their representatives.

“They are not as transparent as they use to be,” said Francisco Martínez, faculty Math tutor. He compared the former members to President Barack Obama’s persona and ubiquity. “To see them do more interactive stuff would be great.”

Goolsbay - SGA
Senator of Campus Operatoins Joel Goolsbay

Martínez said that the SGA is doing many things and works behind the scenes, but they are not there visually, making it difficult to attribute activities and actions to them.

The SGA is all ears. Their universal message, “We are all students, and, therefore, all are a part of the SGA,” is something they want students to know.

President Susan Flores, Vice President Jillian Ozuna, Secretary of Business and Treasury Jenna Mata, Senator of Campus Operations Joel Goolsbay, Senator of Public Relations Sandra Piñedo and Senator Jocelyn Mireles are working closely with Dr. Mike Flores, president of Palo Alto College, to provide faster results for the student population.

Meetings are held in the SGA Office in the Student Center, Room 127, and are open to all students. Students are welcome to schedule a meeting, as well. Senators’ schedules are flexible, and they are more than willing to make accommodations for meetings.

“Obviously, it does take a little time for them to get out there and start meeting the students, especially because this is a two-year college. It is a lot different than if we were at a four-year college,” said Director of Student Engagement and Retention Carmen Velasquez. “They’re still new and going through the trials and tribulations of being new and getting acclimated. Everything is a process.”

Troubleshooting dilemmas that come with a new term, the SGA’s main objective is listening to students. By doing so, they are assuring students that they are here for them.

Ozuna - SGA
Vice President Jillian Ozuna

This fall, the SGA has coordinated many events. One event was Palloween, and they have also volunteered for non-profit organizations such as Morgan’s Wonderland. They are currently raising awareness for the Ronald McDonald Foundation, where children recovering from cancer and their families are housed. The foundation collects aluminum can tabs. Plus, the SGA takes care of recycling pick up in the Student Center.

Palo Alto College President Mike Flores meets with the SGA monthly and believes that the SGA serves as a vehicle for advocating and articulating student interests.

“We are here as a college to serve the interests of the students and to ensure that students receive both instruction and services for them to be successful,” said Flores.

The association advocates student involvement. The SGA’s short-term goals for this semester would be better visibility and communication to students. Long-term goals would be bettering the Palo Alto community by serving as a liaison between faculty, administration and students.

Flores - SGA
President Susan Flores

Jillian Ozuna described the SGA as the liaison between students and the school. “These are resources that students don’t utilize enough,” she said.

A Wilms Tumor cancer survivor herself, Susan Flores, SGA President, helps out multitudes of organizations. In a message to students, Flores said, “We thank them for volunteering; we always welcome students to come volunteer whenever we have events. We welcome everyone to come out and hang out, even if they are not participating.”

For more information, contact the SGA office in the Student Center or by phone (210) 486-3129. Headshots of senators will soon be hung around Room 127 of the Student Center, and an upcoming sign in and appointment sheet will be available.