Behind the Scenes of Fresno City College’s Student Activities

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Student Activities’ staff and student workers pose in front of the Fresno City College library prior to the pandemic. Photo courtesy: Student Activities’ Facebook page.

Story By: Maya Padilla, Reporter

Despite campus being closed, Fresno City College’s Student Activities is still hosting events and finding fun remote  alternatives for students, according to employees. 

March 16, 2020 is the day that brought Maile Martinez, Senior Program Specialist, a sudden “disruptive notion” that would require Student Activities to quickly pivot and primarily offer remote services utilizing Zoom. 

Due to the sudden change, a majority of Student Activities’ planned events were postponed or canceled. 

While still having to keep the livelihood of the Student Activities, Martinez began to plan and host events again. 

In 2020, Martinez hosted “Ram 30” in which she called upon 12 FCC alumni and did a 30 minute interview with each of them. In total there are 12 episodes

For Hispanic Heritage Month, Martinez interviewed FCC instructors such as David Campos, Matt Espinoza Watson, and Bernard Navarro.

For Black History Month, Martinez interviewed Rodney Murphy, FCC general counselor. 

As far as virtual events go, Student Activities tries different approaches to connect with students  including video game competitions. 

One virtual event that was unsuccessful for Student Activities was their Fall Car Show last semester. Zero students signed up to participate. 

Martinez believes the virtual car show may have been bad timing as students were not ready to participate during fall due to remote learning being a little overwhelming. 

However, she says students during the spring 2021 semester are engaging a lot more. 

On Feb. 11 2021, Student Activities hosted their first “College Hour” event via Zoom which featured FCC Scholarship Specialist, Josephine Llanos. Approximately 22 students showed up. 

Although the social aspect of club rush has physical limitations, Student Activities hosted a virtual Club Rush on Jan. 28, 2021 which brought in 60-80 students, according to Martinez. 

There are still 12 active clubs that meet every Thursday at 12 p.m. via Zoom in which representatives from all the clubs get together and listen to what each club is doing. 

Despite Student Activities doing well planning and hosting remote events, “In-person I believe is the best. We communicate the best when we can see one another and hear one another first and foremost, face to face,” Martinez said. 

FCC’s Ram Pantry is also overseen by Student Activities. 

Some of the bigger events Ram Pantry has done include the Winter Wonderland event that was held during December in which they gave out toys and stockings with candy to children. 

During the fall 2020 semester, Student Activities hosted their Winter Wonderland themed event at the Ram Pantry for students. 
Photo courtesy: Student Activities’ Facebook page

In addition, the Reading Heart Organization donated 300 books which children were able to pick up from The Ram Pantry as well, according to Martinez. 

Some of Student Activities’ decorations for their Winter Wonderland event. Photo courtesy: Student Activities’ Facebook page

The Ram Pantry is currently operating Tuesday and Thursday from 9-12 p.m. and Wednesday from 9-4 p.m. 

Students are able to go to the pantry, while maintaining social distancing and utilizing masks, to pick up food located behind the FCC Bookstore

When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Martinez states the Student Activities will still maintain social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing. 

During the pandemic, approximately 14 more students were hired to work for the Student Activities office, according to Martinez. 

A main focus for Tadeo Richards, who is a student aid at Student Activities, is to help students out as much as he can.  

Most recently, Student Activities started hosting their  “Lunch Hour” meetings where students and faculty can virtually hang out with student workers Monday through Friday from 12 – 1 p.m. 

Richards has been spending a lot of time assisting students during this time. 

Given FCC is primarily online, students have come to Student Activities for assistance on navigating through web pages, and as a student, Richards says this is something that he often runs into trouble with as well. 

“For students to be able to reach out and have somebody to interact with I think is very important,” he said. 

Last semester when reaching out to students shortly after the pandemic occurred, Richards noticed a lot of students didn’t want to return due to remote learning.  

With little to no physical interaction, it feels “kind of forced” and “unnatural” for Richards but he still believes the engagement will increase and students will continue to adapt.