Positions open in Office of Student Engagement

Student+Government+Association+President+Mitchell+Santos+%28left%29+says+an+understaffed+Office+of+Student+Engagement+has+left+the+Nest+inefficient.%0A

Daniel Salomon

Student Government Association President Mitchell Santos (left) says an understaffed Office of Student Engagement has left the Nest inefficient.

Christian Richey, Editor-in-Chief

The college is searching for job candidates to fill the vacant positions in the Office of Student Engagement that oversee student clubs and campus events, and will begin a national search for a new director of student engagement within a few weeks.

In the meantime, Dean of Student Engagement Tiffany Boykin said, club presidents can contact her to resolve their issues as she and Student Engagement’s basic needs coordinator, Caitlin Silver, take over the duties of the director, who left the post in mid-February.

Former Director Leon Thomas III, who held the position for about a year, said he left AACC to finish his Ph.D.

Officers and members of student clubs have complained that the office has not kept up with club finances, including requests for bill payments, purchases and reimbursements, for several months.

Boykin acknowledged that “there have been clubs and organizations who have not had a very positive experience with respect to getting some of their transactions and planning done. There are a number of factors that have contributed to that and we’ve put structures in place to address them.”

Bonsai Club founder Kevin Kohler, who had complained that the office had not paid a guest speaker who came to a club meeting, said Boykin has been working with him to resolve the issue.

Still, another club president, who spoke with Campus Current on the condition of anonymity, said the Nest—the online system that student groups use to request space for events and bill payments, hasn’t been working well.

The director of the Office of Student Engagement advises the SGA. Pictured, SGA President Mitchell Santos.

Daniel Salomon
The director of the Office of Student Engagement advises the SGA. Pictured, SGA President Mitchell Santos.

That president said the sparse staff in Student Engagement “basically don’t seem to care and have been ignoring [our adviser’s] emails.”

SGA President Mitchell Santos said he found the criticism valid.

“Right now, the Nest is very difficult to run when there is no personnel to run it,” Santos, a second-year creative writing student, said. “We’re extremely understaffed in Student Engagement, and that means the Nest right now isn’t running very efficiently.”

SGA Executive Vice President Matthew Barzal said the Nest system has flaws.

“Unfortunately, we are contractually bound to the Nest for right now,” Barzal, a third-year electrical engineering and Spanish student, said, “which is a bummer because we recognize that it has its faults. … That said, I know that the people in the Office of Student Engagement [are] working as hard as they can as much as they can.”

Aside from the director’s position, one of the main jobs in Student Engagement has been vacant since last spring and another has been empty since December.

The director manages the office, which oversees clubs and events on campus. In addition, Student Engagement runs AACC’s food pantry and Emergency Support Services, which helps connect students with emergency funds and other resources during crises.

The Student Engagement director also is the adviser for the Student Government Association.

The position “is a very critical position here at the college,” Boykin said. “The position is critical to our students’ experiences and … how they achieve their goals.”