ASO moves to make graduation attire more affordable

By Michael Cote, Correspondent

A bill was passed at the last ASO General Meeting which aims to help struggling students afford the two most vital components of graduation attire: the cap and gown.

The bill was one of four that passed at Harbor College that day, and was presented forth by senior member Dean Dake, the senate’s parlamentarium. While addressing the student senate, he described the bill as “a genius plan” that would help disadvantaged students attend graduation, while creating revenue for ASO, through the operation of a cap/gown rental service.

Every cap and gown would cost around $36 to purchase, and would be rented out to next semester’s eligible students for around $10 per graduate. This semester’s students would enjoy a fee-free loan, and students that are signed up with the Disabled Students Program and Services (DSPS) would receive priority access over other students not signed-up with the program. All in all, the initial start up-costs of the program amount to about $900, Drake said.

“I’ve seen the need for a program like this for a long time” said A.S.O. President Ajay Aquino. “As a matter of fact, I’ve been approached numerous times in the past by students looking for such a program, and I have always had to turn them down and direct them towards outside, possibly more expensive, options” Aquino said. After a few senate members made inquiries into the program’s details, a motion was made to vote on the bill, which was passed unanimously, to cheers all around.

Besides an amendment which moved to reclassify “unofficial meetings” as “general meetings” (so that members could earn association points for attending these), most of the other bills voted on that day dealt with A.S.O. expenses.

One bill dealt with the cost for hosting ASO’s closing banquet (around $4000), and another dealt with the decision to continue a yearly expenditure on the creation of custom graduation stoles for A.S.O. members. All of these costs were accepted and passed. However, this came as no surprise to Chief Delegate Brandon Mesker. Before the meeting commenced, he shared his views with the crowd of about half-a-dozen in attendance at the Seahawk Center:

“[Since] the last secretary left, we’ve saved up a lot of funds by operating without one” said Mesker, “and if the association doesn’t use this money, it will be absorbed into a ‘limbo-pool’ of college funds, and most likely be used for purposes unrelated to the association.”

He explained that it was a classic case of “use it or lose it”, and therefore, anticipated that all the proposed bills would pass without resistance.

Among other items discussed at the meeting were reports from STEM, and the Executive Finance Committee. These dealt with briefing the Senate on extracurricular activities. The STEM division shared their experiences attending Robotics contests, while the EFC discussed the outcome of their last baseball fundraiser. Both events were considered a success.

The meeting, which started late and lasted for about an hour and a half, ended at around 4 pm..

From all the bills that passed on May 16, the creation of a practical and economic cap/gown rental service might prove to have the most impact on disadvantaged students.

“Perhaps what I like the most about it,” said Dake, “is that it has to do with graduation, and after all, isn’t that why we’re all here?”

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