From left to right: Michael Biermann, Taran Underdal, Kyder Olsen
Matt Coito, Brandy Jordan and Joquin Rodriquez pose in front of the
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis.
Student government members of both Central Oregon Community College and Oregon State University Cascades members returned from a St. Louis leadership conference earlier this month, where they took place in round table discussions, idea and material exchanges and consulting sessions among other activities.
The members represented the two colleges at the assembly, which was the 33rd Annual National Leadership Conference on Student Government.
“As a new council it was a real learning experience,” said Associated Students of COCC (ASCOCC) Fiscal and Operations Coordinator Michael Biermann. “We learned the history of student governments … how to increase student retention and how to promote ourselves.”
Objectives of the activities were intended to reduce student apathy, improve student input and provide skills necessary to resolve campus concerns.
ASCOCC members came back feeling that “no decision on campus should be made without student input,” but most of all “how much responsibility [student government members] have,” according to Biermann.
ASCOCC Clubs Coordinator Matt Coito, a returning member who has attended numerous conferences during his four years with the council, also spoke highly of the St. Louis conference.
“I’ve been to a bunch of student government conferences, but I was still able to find something new,” said Coito. “There were some great speakers there as well.”
Members of the Associated Students of Cascades Campus, OSU-Cascades’ student government, were also able to take back some important skills from the conference.
“We learned how to build a more cohesive team,” said Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Kate Roth. “And how to use those tools we learned to help the student body.”
Although they traveled separately, the two campuses’ student governments were able to meet and have dinner together while in St. Louis. Council members also enjoyed meeting other student leaders and advisors from around the United States.
“One of the best parts was being able to talk with other student government’s members,” said Biermann. “We saw what other student governments do and there were things we could take back from them … There was just a wealth of knowledge available.”
ASCOCC managed to spend only $7, 098 in members’ expenses for the trip, according to ASCOCC Advisor Taran Underdal, a dramatic reduction from last year’s trip to a Washington D.C. conference, which totaled $18,383.46. ASCC spent $6,078 this year, not including meals, according to ASCC Advisor Andrew Davis.
Tobey Veenstra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.