From the Office of the President

By Kanpong Thaweesuk

Spring 2013 is my last quarter to serve as the Student Body President at Shoreline Community College.

The point of this message is to share my three years’ experience at the college in the hope that future students will be listened to, valued, and respected when attempting to contribute to the campus community.

After highschool, I realized the need to grow up and be independent, know myself, and master English. I asked my parents if I could study abroad, and they said “yes.” In March of 2010, I departed from Bangkok, Thailand, to come to SCC.

Knowing no one in the States, lonesomeness became my friend, and confusion was my follower in the absence of direction and guidance. Fear became my challenge in the absence of people who shared my culture. I had classes with lots of homework and difficulties, and didn’t consider jobs because of hesitation in myself.

That lasted until some student leaders in International Programs encouraged me to fill their shoes. Realizing that my reason for being here was to learn, I applied.

That was the turning point of my life. I started making friends and gaining mentors on campus. I witnessed the impact of my actions, and found it meaningful to serve.

Serving others became my passion, and I decided to run for Student President.

Education here changed me, and I hoped it could change others too.

As the two-year Student President, I envisioned students would have more power to make decisions about their education and that student feedback would be
considered in attempts to improve the quality of their experiences at the college.

I envisioned students being informed and educated about support services and involvement opportunities on campus.

I envisioned students having the ability to choose practical skills to help develop in their leisure time.

But having the vision is not enough. I have worked hard to achieve my visions, because I care about students and the future of society. I hoped that things would change, and they began to. Students started taking more responsibility for their education.

Yet, when it came to making change and spreading the students’ voice, I found myself hitting a wall time and time again, because I did not feel like I was being listened to, respected, and supported.

Here are some incidents that make me feel in such a way:

Student Trustee — In Fall of 2012, students asked for a voting seat on the Board of Trustees. The proposal was pushed back. The Board of Trustees said they would revisit the topic in Spring of 2013, but the issue has not been followed up on with student government since. At a recent all-campus meeting, President Lambert suggested that I sit down with the Chair of the board of trustees, leaving the matter to Student Government.
Student Union Building's Space — Students wanted their own space in the PUB to promote diversity and inclusion. However, the administration decided to expand the International Education Office into the Multicultural & Women's Center. Although the administration promised to fulfill student interests in the next 3-5 years, there is no guarantee.

Orientation Programs for All New Students — Students expressed their need to have a quarterly orientation program that educates about available support services, involvement opportunities, and the benefits of being involved. No follow up has been made with student government on this issue.
It is vital that students, staff, and faculty advocate for their needs to ensure the commitment of the college to its educational mission. I am finishing my education here transformed, and I hope that future students will also be able to find the excellent education that exists here.

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