ASCC Student Government Association holds retreat

he Student Government Association (SGA) at the American Samoa Community College often finds itself in the spotlight thanks to the many events it sponsors for both students at the College and the general public, including the Miss ASCC Pageant, intramural sports, cultural, assemblies and student club activities. However, amidst all of its seemingly fun aspects, the SGA serves a deeper purpose within the College's academic environment.

As it states in the ASCC catalog, "The SGA exists to advance the democratic process of student government. It encourages professionalism and improved quality of activity and service at all levels of student government for the benefit of the total student population. It contributes to the analysis, understanding, and resolution of student issues by providing academic and social activities." For the student leaders to fulfill this prescribed role requires a detailed understanding of the College's policies and inner-workings, and the association's current members received an immersion in this knowledge during their SGA Retreat which took place in late November.

Over the course of the two-day retreat, held at the Tradewinds Hotel, the SGA members participated in ten different workshops on diverse aspects of student life at ASCC. These included an overview of the College's Budgeting and Finances by Mrs. Rennelle Loa of the Business Office; a review of the ASCC policies on Sexual Harassment by Human Resources Director Mrs. Komiti Emmsley; an orientation to the College's Tutorial Services and Student Learning Center by Mrs. Lydian Tinitali; and a presentation on Leadership by Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle.

ASCC Counselors Ms. Allison Hurst discussed Career advising available to ASCC students; Mrs. Matesina Willis gave an overview of the Transfer process to a four-year college; and Mr. Mark Mageo talked about the services offered by the You Are Not Alone Coalition (YANA) for students experiencing personal problems. Two officers from the Department of Public Safety also participated, offering a workshop on the Territory's laws regarding alcohol use and traffic safety. SGA advisor Mrs. Maxine Tuiolemotu closed off the workshops with a presentation on the role of the SGA in preparing the Student Handbook and the Calendar of Student Events for the spring 2012 Semester.

"These trainings will enhance the SGA members' ability in performance and enable them to be effective and successful student leaders in the future," explained Mrs. Tuiolemotu. "I have great faith that in spring 2012 they will perform to their full potential in assisting the student body in a wide range of services and in meeting ASCC mission." SGA President Dona Maifala offered a similar assessment of the retreat. "The different workshops have created a different attitude for the SGA", he reflected. "We're now prepared to face whatever challenges may come our way for the rest of this school year." Maifala said the SGA organized its own schedule for the retreat. "We brainstormed on different topics that we members knew needed to be addressed within the SGA", he explained.

The SGA is governed by the executive officers and the representatives, who are elected from the freshmen and sophomore classes. SGA representatives also serve on various ASCC committees and one serves a member of the Board of Higher Education. Students interested in serving as an executive officer must have a cumulative 3.00 grade point average at the time of election. Any full-time student who maintains a 2.70 semester GPA, who has completed one semester in ASCC, and is in good academic standing is eligible to serve in the SGA.

In addition to President Maifala, the SGA Executive Officers are Vice President Atene Ulimasao, Treasurer Teuila Festival Lemisio, Secretary Miracle Sene, Student Representative to the Board of Higher Education Tofi Coffin and Parliamentarian Lafaele Gasolo. Sophomore Representatives are Kenny Fanolua, Lila Tuilagi, Norlene Fuimaono, Victoria Fano and Seminary Fano. Representing the Freshman class are Anthony Maeli, Fuatino Falelua, Legalo Pasitele, Siulepa B. Uiagalelei, and Paul Saulo. Honorary Members include reigning Miss ASCC Pearl Faimafili Paopao Sheck, Archivist: Natuitasina L. Ah-Soon, Diversity Representative Sala D. Ta'ase, PTK Representative Toefuataina S. Ta'ai, and YANA Representative John Amituana'i.


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