Committees seek student volunteers

Ellen Nelson

Ellen Nelson

A chance to take part in real democracy and affect issues in the local community is knocking at SDSU students’ doors.

As of March 18, the city of Brookings has been in need of student volunteers to be members of three city committees. The Human Rights Committee, the Parks and Recreation Board and the Committee for People who have Disabilities are all looking for new volunteers to serve and work on these local issues.

Though each board has a specific area of focus, all work together in hopes of making Brookings more than just a place where students come to study, but rather a place they can proudly call home.

Dave Miller, current chairman of the Committee of People who have Disabilities, said he fully supports having SDSU students as part of their committees.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of having SDSU students here on the committee,” he said, “I love having them… they bring a certain energy and different perspective to the table, and that’s definitely something beneficial for us.”

“SDSU and the students are so important to our community, and it’s always good to hear their voice,” said Shari Thornes, Brookings City Clerk.

Student positions on the boards assume the responsibility of attending committee meetings, in addition to receiving voting power just like any other member of the board, said Thornes. Under the committee for People who have Disabilities, one student position is available for the duration of one year. There are no residency requirements associated with this position, which allows people from other towns to hold this position if they live in Brookings.

According to its mission statement, this committee strives to advocate the rights of people who have disabilities within the Brookings community. Additional purposes of the committee include raising awareness, informing citizens and pertinent entities in how they can help improve the quality of life for people who have disabilities, as well as serving as a community-based advocacy group.

By serving on the board of the committee for People who have Disabilities, students would take a step in aiding local authorities to comply with federal civil rights laws.

SDSU junior Emily McConkey, a psychology and math education major, said these opportunities sound like a great résumé booster.

“Being able to write something like this on your résumé is something that will really stick out to possible employers,” McConkey said. “It shows that you are not just dedicated to your school, but to the community overall.”

Volunteers interested in human rights issues can look at the position in the Brookings Human Rights Committee, which has the power to investigate complaints alleging discrimination.

For the duration of one year, members of this committee would have the opportunity to study the existence, character and causes of discrimination in employment, along with housing and public services in the area, as stated in the March 18 press release.

The third committee currently looking for a student board member is the Parks and Recreation Board.

As members of this board, students would be able to provide advice to the director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, while at the same time assisting in administrative functions in the public park system, as well as recreation programs and city forestry program.

The position’s responsibilities would also include giving advice and recommendations to the City Council regarding park capital improvements and planning.

“This really is a good opportunity and endeavor for SDSU students,” said Thornes.