Op-Eds

Students for Change: History and how far they’ve come

As an incumbent party, Students For Change understands the issues and concerns Queens College students face year in and year out. First founded in 2012, a group of everyday students united with a goal to serve in the interests of their peers, and provide a voice to those who felt unheard.

Within their first year in office, the party was able to make numerous strides on campus—starting with a puppy room, a place where students were able to interact with therapeutic dogs to unwind from the stress of finals week. Along with this, SFC accomplished a QC staple, the MidKnight Breakfast, a fun filled food event, which brings students, faculty, staff, and administrators together, before the gruesome finals schedule begins and the semester comes to a close.

Following that year, SFC introduced initiatives such as the QC Shuttle Bus Service, which statistics show is the number one student activity funded service to be utilized by the QC community. During that same year, we also introduced “free printing,” a victory that was short lived, due to some students printing entire textbooks, some amounting up to 10,000 pages. However, we ensured students were still given an adequate amount of pages to print, and are revisiting the conversation again to negotiate an increase to the dollar amount provided to each student.

Today, we continue to represent the everyday QC student, winning significant battles, such as freezing tuition for the 2016- 2017 academic year, which the current Student Body President Japneet Singh, has lead efforts to advocate on a city, state and federal level. He, alongside other SFC members, as well as leaders from across the CUNY board, continue to work diligently to ensure this freeze becomes permanent for years to come.

Under the leadership of SFC, social events on campus have dramatically increased, beginning with “Welcome Day.” Over the past two years, SFC has had record- breaking attendance for the annual concert, and were able to bring Omarion and Jay Sean to campus. In addition to “Welcome Day,” we have focused on working with clubs and organizations to maximize the turnout and success of events. Through co-sponsorships and co-hosting, we have worked with clubs to engage more students on campus and progress student life. As a result, under SFC, the number of clubs and organizations have almost doubled—adding many more diverse groups for students to select from.

Another major component year after year is food on campus. SFC has been able to expand and accommodate food options for students, with Halal and Kosher alternatives. Nathan’s, Shahs, AVE C and the Knights Diner were also lobbied for under our leadership, as well as the inclusion of food trucks. In addition to widening the food selection on campus, under our leadership, more microwaves were added around campus, the most recent being in the Q-Café.

Students For Change continuously strives to bring real world issues to light on campus, with an initiative to ensure all of our students feel safe. After the election of President Trump, SFC helped to declare Queens College a Sanctuary campus, making QC one of the first CUNY campuses to do so. In addition, we helped to organize a “Unity Wall,” which allowed students to vocalize any issues or concerns they had post- elections and for the future, giving them a safe, community driven outlet to express themselves.

Following this, SFC continued to provide a number of services throughout finals week, allowing students to de-stress with activities and free services, such as manicures, massages, a puppy room, bunny room, build-a-bear, art therapy, nap stations, study stations, and 24-hour library service for students.

The biggest accomplishment under Students for Change leadership is the increased communication and collaboration between administration, athletics, clubs and Greek life. Where there was once a huge divide on campus amongst these groups, SFC continues to diminish that gap each year.

As we continue to work in the best interests of the QC community, we understand the growing changes and concerns students continue to voice. Given another term to serve, we guarantee to continue our service towards listening to these voices and advocating to the best of our abilities to make these ambitions a reality.

Written by members of the Student Association

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