The student government of RCC’s Riverside campus is fighting an uphill battle to do — well, anything
By Marissa Woltanski
The Associated Student Government of Rogue Community College at Riverside (ASGRCC-RVC) has been struggling to communicate its goals — and accomplishments — to the student body of the Riverside campus.
“This is my second year as president,” said Matt Vorderstrasse, President of ASGRCC-RVC. “There are lots of new officers. We’re going in a really positive direction.”
RCC’s Redwood campus has a textbook rental program for students, a service Vorderstrasse would like to see offered on every RCC campus.
“We had our first meeting today [Nov. 5],” Vorderstrasse said. “It’s in its infancy, but students can hopefullyexpect to see this program at the end of this term or the beginning of the next one.”
Vorderstrasse is rightly proud of what they have accomplished in his third term thus far.
“RCC was able to lobby legislators not to cut community college funding as much,” he said. “We collected over 500 student stories and hand-delivered them to Peter Buckley, who is on the Ways and Means Committee.”
Despite these accomplishments, the Associated Student Government at Riverside has remained largely invisible — unless you spend a good deal of time in the lobby of G Building, where Vorderstrasse operates an information booth.
“I don’t know what student government does,” said Sam Mahoney, a student and one of Vorderstrasse’s constituents.
If you ask typical RCC students, odds are they will echo Mahoney’s words. They know next to nothing about who Student Government officials are or what they do.
“Honestly, I think only a couple hundred students know about us and what we do,” Vorderstrasse said.
Part of the problem, according to Vorderstrasse, is that the ASG’s current location in G Building is no longer the center of campus. A large portion of the student body has migrated to the lobby of the newer Higher Education Center, where ASG does not currently have a presence.
Several ASG officials mentioned RCC’s policies as a bureaucratic stumbling block. A good deal of paperwork is required before they can hang a flyer. Still, Vorderstrasse said, “Nobody reads flyers.”
“There is a protocol,” said Marchand Vorderstrasse, who is Director of Student Activities and the wife of Matt Vorderstrasse. She coordinates all student activities at Riverside, such as the block party and upcoming food drive.
The ASG website been more or less put out to pasture: the events calandar lists only three events (which occurred over a year-and-a-half ago) and includes out-of-date information about the workings of the ASG. Review of RCC’s events calandar also shows scant sign of ASG activities or participation. Only two activities related to Student Government are anticipated for Riverside for the rest of this term.
Student government can be a balancing act of priorities, which most busy students are not keen to accept.
“Fall term helps us discover [if the new officers are] going to make it, whether or not they can stay the full term,” said Marchand Vorderstrasse. “It is very stressful, and there’s a lot of momentum.”
“Most of us have kids, so our student gov is kid-friendly and family-oriented,” said Marchand Vorderstrasse. “We understand the stresses of family life. We’re showing our children how important education is. My number one thing is being a mom and everything else falls into place.”
Matt Vorderstrasse hopes to extend this sense of reponsibility to his constituents. He is mindful that not all students are as optomistic as their student government when it comes to balancing their grades and their checkbook.
“Keep coming to school,” he said. “Reach out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Come to student government. Don’t forget why you’re here and don’t get discouraged.”