Each day on Sierra Nevada College’s campus, groups of students gather between classes to catch up, talk snowsports and complain about school. Yet, only five students showed up to the open forum for students and faculty at 7 p.m. hosted by the Student Government Association on Wednesday Nov. 7 in Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences.
The panel included President Lynn Gillette, Dean of Students Will Hoida, Executive Vice President and Provost Shannon Beets, as well as SGA executive board members President Sabrina Belleci, Vice President Jake Denny and Secretary Anza Jarschke.
Belleci’s State of the Campus Address began the evening and focused on clubs, events and student involvement on campus and in the community “ensuring SNC and SGA grows, strengthens and continues to put students first.” The speech was followed by questions from the students who attended.
The forum direction immediately turned from SGA commentary to inquiries about parking, the Holman Arts and Media Center and the future of SNC, for which Gillette answered the majority of questions.
“Five years ago undergraduate enrollment was about 260. It’s 536 now, and if we can do what we want, we have a goal of taking it to 1,000. What 1,000 does is allow the college to do a number of things it could not do,” said Gillette.
Plans for another academic building, dorm and parking garage, approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, are set to take effect if SNC reaches those numbers. However, approval does not mean funding, and therefore SNC must wait for the financial security to begin construction.
In the meantime, due to community relations issues arising from student parking, options such as satellite shuttle locations for students, Greener than the Dean alternative transportation promotions and different classes of parking which dictate how close students park to campus will become the new norm as enrollment increases.
To reach financial sustainability, expand the campus and boost the viability of current student degrees, Beets said, “The single most important thing you can do for the future of this college is to talk about how great your experiences are here, since the most significant way we get new students is word of mouth.”
Nearly every student in attendance agreed with Beets and offered to return to their alma maters and advocate for the unmatched experience that SNC provides its students.
Overall the forum touched upon serious and informative topics, despite the lack of attendance. All students were satisfied with the answers provided, and every grievance and suggestion was heard.
“I would put the meeting as a mild success. I’d have liked to see a better student turnout, but I think we talked about some important issues and we had a great discussion that I wish could have reached more ears,” said Denny.