In an attempt to increase transparency and inform students about the resources available to them on campus, the Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) Senate hosted a Student Services Fair last Friday Oct. 21 in the Academic Quad. Members of Student Services groups milled around the benches, seeking refuge from the 90-degree weather and handing out stickers to interested underclassmen.
ASOC provides a multitude of services across campus, including the Bengal Bus, a free shuttle service that operates within a seven-mile radius of campus; La Encina, the college’s yearbook; Bike Share, a program that allows students to explore Los Angeles via rented bicycles; KOXY Radio and The Occidental Weekly, to name a few.
According to an email sent out by the ASOC Senate Team, students are charged $144 per semester for Student Services — a flat fee that Senate allocates across the myriad services on campus. Senate wanted to give the Occidental community a chance to ask questions about where their money goes, and homecoming weekend seemed like the perfect way to kick-start this initiative, with a steady stream of parents, first years and prospective students navigating their way through campus.
“Student services were coming in, talking about being more visible on campus,” ASOC Senator Poppy Thekdi (sophomore) said. “We wanted to put together an event where they could all be out there and new students could come and see … exactly what they do.”
Funds from this student body fee also go toward Programming Board, which plans and manages on-campus events, and the Student Activities Center (SAC), an organization that provides resources for off-campus opportunities. These resources, including discounted movie tickets, are meant to engage the Occidental community in activities beyond the Eagle Rock area.
Theresa Ellsworth (senior) said she used the Bengal Bus regularly during her first two years at Occidental and appreciated the freedom she had to travel around the area without making too big of a dent in her wallet. Malena Ernani (senior) likewise expressed appreciation for the resources available to students.
“I think it’s great that we attend an institution that values student-run services,” Ernani said. “It makes me feel proud of my peers.”
As a transfer student, Rebecca Nelson (junior) appreciated the lengths student services were willing to go to in order to make her feel included on campus. Additionally, she was surprised to learn about student discounts available through the college, as she was unaware of some of the perks that come with being a part of the Occidental community.
“I am happy that $144 of my tuition funds student services on campus,” Nelson said. “I am also glad that [these services] were highlighted by the fair, because everyone should know about, get involved with and take advantage of all the great opportunities we have through them.”
Although Thekdi was pleased with the overall turnout at Friday’s fair, she noted a lack of upperclassmen interest. This lack of interest could be because older students have been on campus long enough to know of the student services offered. In order to target more first-year students, ASOC Senate plans to hold another Student Services Fair next semester, increasing awareness of all services through advertisements marketed toward their specific interests.
“It is important to keep in mind that, as a student, you have all these services available to you,” Thekdi said. “Always ask around, because there is a lot that the school has to offer that comes from student services and a lot of people don’t know about them.”