First and foremost I would like to say that being student government president and working with my administration has been truly a great experience and I have learned a lot. We faced a few obstacles but we came together to accomplish a lot so far.
Student Association has worked with administration to open the first floor of the library 24/7 during finals week, so now students will have two floors open. Many students complained last year that they couldn’t study due to the noise from the environment; that shouldn’t be the case anymore. I am currently working with the Office of Converging Technology and administration in implementing charging stations in Powdermaker Hall and Kiely Hall. This allows students to charge their electronics quickly before their classes and solves the issue of lack of outlets in classrooms.
Student government worked with Queens College President James Muyskens to save $25,000 for special student-related programming events. Along with efforts in trying to make the campus more lively, SA programmed a Welcome Day concert with the band “We The Kings,” which was never been done before at QC. Something else that was never done before which was a huge success was having Club Day on Welcome Day. This allowed freshmen to get involved right from the beginning and club membership boosted.
There is a new SA lounge in replace of the old computer lab where students come daily to hangout and get their work done. SA is also working with OCT to set up a TV news show that will provide the campus with updates on academics, events, athletics and student government. The show will be airing during free hour on all of the screens on campus. We have worked with Student Union administration to relocate the computer lab in the SU basement. Also, we are looking to renovate the ballroom to make it more appealing for student events. Because many students have complained about the student government elections process, SA is working to change the policies so they are better equipped for a Queens College student.
I currently sit on the Matrix Committee. This committee is designed to implement a new bell schedule because of the new facility, Queens Hall, which was formerly the CUNY Law building. Classes will be offered there next semester and the distance to get there is greater than 10 minutes. The committee is implementing a new schedule to increase the class break from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. In hopes of the increase, the committee is also trying to find ways of adding an additional free hour for Thursdays which will likely increase student events and student life on campus.
One very undervaluing accomplishment I look at is the attendance rate of the Congress of Club Presidents meetings. In the past years this group rarely met and no ideas were ever shared. Student Association has set a stronger precedent on making sure club presidents attend this meeting and as a result 2/3 of all club presidents have attended this meeting and this provides great opportunity to learn from one another on how to run a club and really discuss the problems they are facing and it gives me a better understanding on how I can resolve their issues.
As I look back to Students for Change’s platforms, and even though we haven’t accomplished all of the items on the list, we certainly tried to address them all. My board had to really decide on some items in regards to whether to continue advocating for it or to make revisions on a certain platform idea. For example, the increase of $15 for printing on your QC card, which used to be free. After surveying hundreds of students and looking over the reports from OCT, we came to decision on not advocating for the increase because it wasn’t worth it form the diligence conducted. So now we are working with OCT on what other routes and ideas we can attempt by not increasing the printing money on the QC card.
Spring semester looks very exciting and promising, as many of the ideas I am working on will come into play, like the TV station and charging stations. Also, the events will be bigger and better. The fall semester has been a great learning curve for my board and the time was spent more on research and brainstorming. Spring semester and the following semesters is where you will see all the ideas coming into effect.
Some obstacles my team faced was just getting started and trying to find our way. There are so many committees and boards to be informed about. Another obstacle is the bureaucracy that has to be faced in our school, but we were all able to adapt to the situation as we got more comfortable. So far working with administration has been great. But I do wish things would get done at a more timely rate.
Karamvir Singh is Student Association President.