Student body president finds communication key

By Cory Gul, Staff Writer

With no knowledge of the McHenry County College student government, I earned my degree. Even now with my second associates on the way, all the while I had little clue about representatives in student body. I figure with the power of press, both student and the representatives could become more connected, so I invited the student body president himself to my house. To his credit Ramiro Angelino came and spoke with me for an hour about his mission to aid the MCC student body, as well as put forth a plan for his time as student body president.

I asked Ramiro what his operating plan was, he told me that he wants to address communication. He told me about his plans for majoring in psychology, a minor in sociology, as well as a earning a  PhD in clinical psychology.

“I always look at the individuals and see how can we get – these people – to start talking to one another,” he said. “Even in classes I know we’ve heard – a lot of faculty – a lot of professors speak how they can’t get the students to speak. Well that starts by creating a sense of trust in the room.”

A passing student might not recognize Ramiro as student body president. He doesn’t wear dress shoes, and he’s often in the company of some laughing friends. In fact, I worked with him on a project before his position, and was wowed when I found out.

“I don’t chain the student body so much to my identity,” he said. “I don’t try to absorb it too much that my – whole aspect of my life.”

Through his words, I saw that my assumptions that the student government was making hard decisions and holding students to official standards of any sort wasn’t beating them down as individuals. This gave me hope, hope that even I, being very different from Ramiro, could just as well work in student government. Ramiro said: “I studied communications on my own time for about four years and prepared myself for such a position. I’ve had leadership positions before, in the past.

“I was LASO president which was the Latin American Student Organization back in my high school” he continued, “I’m very serious when it comes to leadership initiatives.”

I asked Ramiro if he wishes to continue representing his local students if and when he transfers to campus, he told me, “I want to adjust to my environment, I want to get a feel for the university – its functions, how it works”.

Ramiro and I talked about why it is that MCC students might spend their two years in attendance, and never interact with student government in any substantive way.  I theorized that because the environment of community college is so short, and because students don’t live, breath, eat, and sleep at the school, it’s a small facet of their list in obligations. He agrees that most people don’t stay on campus longer than they have to. In response to my questions about this disconnect, he said: “Community college gives the opportunity for a lot of students who are perhaps first generation, or they’re trying to figure themselves out. Not only young adults, but this could be single mothers or fathers who are also single trying to find an opportunity.”.

His words resonated with me, as I had had all those examples in my classes, and I myself was on track to be the first in my family to transfer to a campus college. He explained this as the idea of community college: “You get to adjust to college level work while at the same time living your life as it was prior going to a bigger school.

“Community college gives you the opportunity to first focus on the college level course.” We spoke about the juxtaposition of culture shock for students who might go off to university and be alone and self-dependent for the first time in their lives.

What I figure the subject boiled down to was that community college students were as the name suggests, deeply associated and busied in the local community.

Our hour together left me feeling humbled and better about my involvement at the school. Community college involvement is not shoved in students faces at MCC, and perhaps that’s the better way. I’m not saying that it’s entirely hands off, nor guiding us by the wrists. I’m saying that for those who look for it. will find it; your fellow students might be working on your behalf right next to you without you even knowing. I’m not sure if everyone ought to know about the details of student government. I think Ramiro would agree that more importantly the students know  if they need them can be reached. I found that to be true with the student body president as well as the school’s president.