As a new administration in student government is learning the ropes of its job, outgoing Student Body President Mike Bird and Executive Vice President Robert Corbridge wanted to take stock in their accomplishments at Salt Lake Community College and let students know that any student can make a difference.
The two elected officials’ platform consisted of three issues when they ran for office: textbook prices, the rising prices of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and rising costs associated with student fees.
“We wanted to do something about the high textbook prices,” Corbridge said.
He spearheaded the effort to come up with a cheaper source of textbooks. Corbridge and his team looked into open source texts, a rental system and a guaranteed buyback option.
While there is a small rental system in place, Corbridge was most excited about the guaranteed buyback system. Not all courses qualify, but for those that do, students who buy the books new at full price will be able to get half of their money back when it comes time to sell the books. Students who buy the book used will pay about 75 percent the price of the new book and still get 50 percent of the price of a new text when the students sell the books back. Bird said that the chairs of every department know about it, and they’re excited as is the bookstore.
In fall, student fees will cover SLCC’s new trial shuttle system. The shuttle will run between the Taylorsville Redwood Campus and South and Jordan Campuses. This alternative to UTA will allow students to take advantage of classes and activities on other campuses. The college is contracting the shuttle through the same service that runs the University of Utah’s shuttle service.
“The more students that take advantage of it, the more it will grow,” Bird said.
After addressing the tuition increase possibilities, Deneece Huftalin, vice president of student services, said that student fees would be lower by about 50 cents for the 2012-2013 school year. As part of their concern for the tight finances of students, Bird and Corbridge spent time during the legislative session protecting students’ financial rights.
“Education was the main topic on the hill this legislative session,” Bird said.
The two were also involved with lobbying in Washington, D.C. on March 17 and 18, 2012 for lower interest rates on student loans and a large scale text book solution.
“We’ve done everything we could to serve this year and we’re going to continue to do it,” Bird said.
Bird and Corbridge also cited higher student involvement in state and community college government as a success. SLCC dominated other schools with about 9,300 students participating in the Education First petition. Utah State was second with about 7,000 signatures. The caucus trainings had about 300 participants at SLCC with about 190 participants at the next highest-attended training.
For SLCC government positions, there were about 40 applicants this year for the Presidential Scholarship which pays full tuition and books for two years. Between 12 and 20 of these scholarships are awarded every year. Last year, there were only 20 applicants.
“Regular students have a voice that they don’t understand,” Corbridge said. He said that an organized person who has done proper research and goes through the right channels can create a great change at SLCC.
“I really enjoyed the experience,” said Corbridge of his time in office. He has about 15 credits left for his business degree and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife.
As for Bird, he is looking forward to interning with Senator Orrin Hatch over the summer and says that he will continue to be involved with school wherever he goes.