The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

El Camino student government discusses student health and safety at open forum

A decorative Associated Students Organization sign on a door located inside the ASO offices as it looked on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The ASO offices are found in the basement of the Communication Building. (Lana Milly | The Union)

Student safety, wellness and changes in campus architecture were the main topics discussed at the second Associated Students Organization open forum on Oct. 25.

ASO Senator of Business, Paige Hamilton, presented two projects the organization is working on this semester during the forum.

One project Hamilton brought up is reopening the Fitness/Wellness Center to general students and allowing them access to the space and fitness equipment during certain times of the day.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the center, which is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, was open for all students to exercise in and use the showers. Right now, only students enrolled in specific physical education classes can access the center.

The other project presented focused on the safety of both un-housed students and students who attend night classes on campus.

“ASO is working to bring a third-party security organization to keep students who are unhoused and stay on campus in their cars overnight [safe],” Hamilton said.

The organization is also trying to bring more attention to a night shuttle that transports students from parking Lot L to other areas on campus, although ASO representatives say nothing is set in stone.

“[The shuttle] is run by police and we want it to be more advertised so we can ensure the safety of late-night students,” Student Trustee Connor Lai said.

Architecture students in attendance spoke directly to the student government representatives with feedback about how to improve the college’s public space.

Students showcased hand-built models of what an outdoor student commons area could look like.

Architecture major Karla Bonilla, 21, said she attended the open forum specifically to advocate and promote ideas from the Architecture Department.

“[ASO] can bring our concerns to higher-ranking people and possibly get us to a place where the architecture department can spread our ideas to a broader audience,” Bonilla said.

ASO representatives said they will be looking into plans for a dedicated space for students to hang out in between classes, similar to the Collaboration Room in the Schauerman Library.

Mental health was another discussion point at the forum, as organization representatives discussed different ways to possibly improve the mental health resources El Camino provides both on and off campus.

According to the El Camino website, every student who attends El Camino is required to pay a $26 fee per semester or $22 per summer term to cover the operation, supervision, programs and services of the Student Health Center.

ASO Vice President Jeon Park brought up mental health resources the college provides for off-campus use, such as the TimelyCare app which gives 24/7 mental health help to El Camino students.

Park said while El Camino has mental health counselors available to help students, it can be difficult to schedule in-person appointments as time slots may be full.

“We really need to add more on-campus mental health resources so students can get the immediate help they need,” Park said.

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