New ASUCC Leadership hopes to bring in more student engagement this year

Published by Amy Latham on

David Muñoz explains the agenda for the ASUCC meeting. David Muñoz is the ASUCC president where he takes care of any duties he has to fulfill while helping students.
-New ASUCC Leadership- Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

ASUCC new student leadership

The student body leadership team, Associated Students of Umpqua Community College, started with an entirely new team this year from a new advisor to all new officers. Long-term advisor Marjan Coester left UCC in spring of 2023, increasing opportunities and challenges for the new staff.

David Muñoz, ASUCC’s new president, is excited for the new school year. “I saw an opportunity in the leadership changeover to be the change I wanted to see. I knew that with the loss of Marjan’s incredible leadership that I could help in that transition.”

Ronda Stearns, the administrative assistant to the division of Student Services, was pivotal for Muñoz. “Although I anticipated a learning curve as the new ASUCC president, the first few weeks of the term have been challenging but also informative. In my experience, finding success in a new role is easier when you have the right guidance, and in Ronda Stearns, I have found an invaluable wealth of knowledge. Ronda has truly been pivotal in answering my unending questions and providing me with the guidance to serve in a presidential capacity.”

Muñoz’s new role started when last year’s president, Larisa Czernowski, talked to Muñoz about running for ASUCC president for the 2023 to 2024 school year. “It was a natural progression from my position as a student government representative as vice president of the Engineering Club.”

ASUCC supports students

During the previous school year, ASUCC ran several events around campus aimed to help students interact with one another to build a better campus community: Cookies and Cocoa, Hawktober, Thursday Tumblers, Winning Wednesday Bingo, Breakfast Club, Soups On and others.  Muñoz thinks these events are essential to the student body, important for branching out, and wants ASUCC to continue this tradition. “ASUCC is constantly considering different event options with the goal of creating a safe environment for students to exchange ideas and build relationships,” Muñoz said.

For many, the idea of engaging with other students may seem daunting. The student body, however, has helped Muñoz. “I appreciate how friendly the student body has been in my first year of UCC. Meeting new people can be difficult, but the students have an exceptional demeanor that relieves the stress and anxiety that may be experienced in these new environments.” Muñoz also says, “ASUCC is here to serve the students, so please, engage with the leadership team to ensure the engagement events are successful.”

Besides improving campus community engagement, “ASUCC aims to support active student organizations on campus,” Muñoz said. ASUCC aims to design their agenda “around the needs and wants of the students, through feedback and surveying,” Muñoz said. 

Alongside current organizations already offered by the school, ASUCC also gives students the option to form a club, pending ASUCC approval. Students interested in a new club must complete the ASUCC Student Organization Recognition Form and get an advisor for the club. Students should talk to Muñoz in the Student Center lounge for a list of current clubs. 

Many former active clubs faded out because of the pandemic. “We would like to see those groups restart or new clubs form because special interest is such a great way for students to make new friends and get involved,” Muñoz said.

Leila Goulet and Caden Schuyler talks about ASUCC business. Leila helps students daily with any questions or concerns they may have. Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

Muñoz looks most forward this year to improving the student lounge in the LaVerne Murphy Student Center. “I have been working with our public relations officers on improvements we can make so that students can feel like the lounge is their home away from home. Some of the feedback we received was that students did not know about the lounge, or they felt it was office space and they were intimidated about gathering there.”

The student lounge has become home to tutors and other students wanting a free quick bite to eat or some free coffee or tea without the noisiness of the cafeteria. “Because the library is closed for the next couple weeks, I enjoy spending my time in the student lounge,” Lydia Wright, a freshman and tutor said. “It’s not as distracting as the cafeteria and it’s a nice place to study, and I like that the Grab and Go station is right there.” 

The free food and drink Grab and Go station is just one of the many forms of assistance offered by ASUCC, and its popularity is shown with how quickly the items on the table diminish. In addition to the Grab and Go station, ASUCC held a “Fresh Fruit Friday” last week where they offered students a table of free fresh vegetables and fruits along with other healthy snacks laid out for students to pick from

Students can also request services from ASUCC which include free food boxes, meal vouchers, bus passes, backpacks, hygiene products and several more items aimed to help students succeed in and out of school.  

ASUCC senators needed

 “We are actively seeking senators so please apply, they can get tuition for participating and it looks great on a resume,” Muñoz said. The senator application is on the Hawk Hangout module in students’ Canvas course lists. 

Contact me at:
UCCMainstream@yahoo.com

For more articles by Amy Latham, please click here.