The current ASU board have made steps to give aid to students in need, particularly female and homeless students.
For years, the Valley College ASU has helped the campus in a variety of ways, whether that be providing money to clubs for events, promoting said events or listening to the concerns from the student body. However, the current ASU officials are already making steps to provide more aid to female and homeless students directly than what other boards have done in the past.
One of these moves is providing female students with sanitary napkins or pads in case of emergencies. Put forward by Commissioner of Student Life Maricela Garcia, the program — called Code Pink — will supply women with a small plastic bag with three napkins or tampons up to twice a month. Before, only one would be provided by the Student Health Center in case of an emergency. While the student store sells these products, Code Pink would just require a student ID.
Not only that, but Garcia is also organizing the Period Drive Committee, which will make a plan to raise money in order to continue funding Code Pink. Though that Period Drive will not take place until next semester, the fact that so much is being done now ahead of time in order to keep providing students with this benefit shows that the ASU is committed to continue the initiative.
The other move is giving hygienic products to homeless students in need. Proposed by ASU President Elijah Rodriguez, the program will give a bag containing a travel-size, gender-neutral toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and 2-1 shampoo. The items will be purchased on a $1,350 budget and will be given to students once a semester. The bags held by the ASU will require the student to have paid their $10 ASU fee, while a portion will be given to Helping Hands for those that may not be able to pay the fee.
While Rodriguez has said that the products are not meant to serve as a permanent solution, it is good to see the ASU take such initiative towards helping Valley’s homeless students. According to a 2017 study by the board of trustees in the Los Angeles Community College District, 18 percent of students are homeless. It should be commendable that the ASU is taking steps to reach out and help students that desperately need it.
Though the ASU has helped out (mainly with clubs) in the past, it does not mean that their reputation has always been clean. The ASU continuously has problems filling its staff members. Just this semester, ASU had three officers resign, leaving only four members until another three were voted in. Last semester, the Valley Star reported that several clubs were upset with the fact that the ASU had set a $1,500 budget to get jackets just for their officers and staff. Posters had even been placed around campus telling students what the ASU was doing.
According to their page on the school website, the ASU “represents the interests of students” at Valley. In that way, buying the jackets was not in any of the students’ interests.
In the past, the ASU has helped to spread awareness of what is going on in the campus, such as events and even their own organization in order to get students involved. However, the difference with this board is that instead of simply spreading awareness of an issue, they are now taking steps to address it head on. Tackling the needs of female students and homeless students is no easy feat, which is why it is admirable to see the ASU make the effort. If the ASU is supposed to represent the interests of students here at Valley, then this current board is certainly doing their job.