Before the start of each fall semester, the Salt Lake Community College Student Association (SLCCSA) identifies priorities in their efforts for the year.
As the elected representative of our student body, my goal as SLCCSA president is to share our focus for the year with the campus community, so that all on-campus entities can collaborate with us while efforts across the institution can adequately respond to student needs.
Our society is currently grappling with numerous challenges: escalating inflation, job market uncertainty and socio-political tension. The impact of these factors has made many aspects of life increasingly difficult, as both the housing crisis and soaring prices of basic needs have become pervasive.
Regrettably, education has not been immune to these difficulties. Although SLCC students strive for success, many struggle to survive. This struggle has led to a disheartening erosion of their sense of belonging and ability to learn. It is important that our college works to prevent this trend. SLCC recognizes knowledge gained in college is an asset to our community, especially in such challenging times.
Therefore, we are more determined than ever to prioritize student accessibility. SLCCSA has identified three guiding questions to support our students in the face of these challenges:
- How can SLCC eliminate, reduce or create greater transparency about the hidden costs of college?
- How can we reconnect students to campus and ensure they find greater value in their time at SLCC?
- How can we enhance the online learning experience, making it both meaningful and accessible?
Affordability is accessibility
In anticipation of base costs like tuition and fees, many students are working multiple jobs, taking out loans and applying for scholarships. On top of it all, students must also support themselves and their families.
Although our college costs less to attend than most in the state, SLCC’s lower price is offset by the unexpected costs students encounter after classes begin. Students are unable to plan for the actual cost of college which includes books, parking, course fees and a myriad of other hidden expenses.
SLCCSA believes strongly that accessibility is affordability. By focusing on making SLCC more affordable, we can reduce the financial burden on students that are already struggling.
Connection adds value
Our student body represents the racial and socio-economic diversity of the Salt Lake Valley, deeply enhancing the academic and co-curricular environment in which we all learn. Essential to an effective and diverse learning environment is the connection a student feels to their school.
Regrettably, we have seen a lack in this connection—leaving our campuses feeling empty. There are many issues that hinder student connection to the college, especially for diverse and first-generation students. We can improve the connection that students feel towards their college by creating entertaining and inspiring student-centered spaces.
For instance, we can stabilize necessary resources like food services, and increase visibility and student involvement in our numerous outstanding campus resources.
Reliable digital resources
We are living in a boom in innovative technology; students are more likely to enroll in online classes and use online tools than ever before. However, some online platforms are hard to access and provide minimal guidance in navigating them.
SLCC currently faces two challenges: the representation of online students and the accessibility of online tools. Nothing interrupts your day faster than things like the internet being down, struggling with the basic functions of an online platform, or being unable to find accurate information online.
Considering how many SLCC students take at least one online course, the digital resources at the college are remarkably underdeveloped and unreliable. While in some cases the solution requires the addition of online resources, the main issue should often encompass making what is online easier.
SLCCSA hopes to shed light on these issues by addressing problems with technology and the inclusion of online students.