Campus, News

This Year, Clark’s Student Government Is All Running Start Students

The Associated Students of Clark College (ASCC) Clark’s student government, exists to represent and advocate for students at Clark. Every student has their own unique experiences, challenges, or circumstances, so a diverse ASCC can ensure some students don’t get overlooked. 

However, this year’s ASCC is composed entirely of high school students who are part of the Running Start program. Currently, only 22 percent of Clark’s student body are in the Running Start program, according to data collected by the school. 

ASCC Executive Assistant Delainey Phelps said that this kind of representation will help the ASCC focus more on Running Start student needs than it has in the past.

“I feel it’s actually really helpful because I know Running Start is about 20% of Clark College’s population, and there wasn’t really anyone in Running Start in ASCC last year, so it was less represented,” Phelps said.

Meanwhile, ASCC Vice President Ellie Davidson said it helps everyone at ASCC work better as a team. 

“It’s interesting, we’re all on the same page, we’re all doing college applications, so it’s a really nice support system for each other, and we can do a better job advocating for running start,” Davidson said.  “It’s also a little bit challenging, we’re all the same age and we’re all going through the same experiences.”

Davidson almost wasn’t a part of the ASCC, explaining that she wasn’t aware of the open positions within the ASCC till the end of last year. 

She hopes to help promote the ASCC and what it does this year through digital outreach on social media channels, the Penguin Digest, and connections with other groups on campus like peer mentors and student ambassadors.

“This year is a lot of trial and error to find the best ways to reach out to students about opportunities. When spring comes around it’ll be a lot more about pushing for the next student government officers,” Davidson said.

Both Davidson and Phelps said it’s common for Running Start students to be unaware of what is happening on campus, though on the same token it’s also common for Running Start students to be unaware of how to navigate running start itself.

One problem both dealt with was being given contradictory information by both Clark advisors and their high school counselors.

“They’re not connected [the high school and college advisors], partly because there are so many different high schools they can’t possibly all stay on the same page,” Phelps said.

The ASCC recently held a survey asking students about Clark’s transition to remote learning. This gave them some insight into the confusion Running Start students face, now made worse due to online operations. Phelps said a lot of this came from navigating financial aid and running start.

Davidson said that running start students need more guidance from their high school counselors, and said the ASCC is working on supporting guided pathways and providing program maps for counselors to present to Running Start students.

“The more stuff and the more information you know, it helps connect me more with the college. I didn’t know a lot before but now I know more than most students do,” Phelps said.

One final piece of advice that both Davidson and Phelps have for any struggling Running Start student is to get involved in extracurriculars and study groups. 

They said it helps create the support and social groups you need to both navigate through the Running Start program and feel like you belong on campus.

“I’d just say to keep in contact with the people you know, whether it’s at the high school or college level. And to reach out to, we have, people are welcome to reach out if they are struggling or need support. Really try to branch out and find resources because there’s so many there once you start looking,” Davidson said.

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