Students Speak Out at SLB Event

Tatiana Mackel and Danny Silva, Staff Writers

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With the end of the semester approaching faster than a sunset in November, you may have been too preoccupied to stop by Brookdale’s most recent Student Speak Out. For those unaware, the Nov. 14 event allowed students to voice their opinions and ask questions to a panel of BCC administrators.

Hosted by the Student Life Board, whose members rushed around the room to make sure every student was mic’d, Speak Out allowed students to ask top college administrators direct questions about things around campus, all while enjoying a free buffet lunch.  

Here’s a brief summary of what went down and what you need to know.

“Some students have issues with their ID not working with purchasing things. What can they do if they can’t buy things on time?” 

“We have been working to find a root cause,” said Joshua Berry, technical director in the office of information technology. “It’s not a global problem and happens randomly, but we are working on finding the root cause.” 

Students’ Brookdale ID, or ONE card, also doubles as a way for students to use money deposited on the card to pay for books and food on campus. Chief Information Officer George Sotirion described this as an internal banking system, meaning that the only place students can access these funds or use their ONE card is in the cafeteria, bookstore and some of the vending machines on campus.  

Students asked about academic advisement policies and complained that some advisers are not as knowledgeable about their program as others. One step the college is taking to combat such confusion is an effort to popularize the use of the Brookdale College Catalog. These catalogs cleary state and lay out the requirements for each student to obtain their desired degree.

Students who take classes in the PAC were assured that their struggles with low building temperatures have not gone unnoticed. Due to breath-exposing conditions in the building, students have been bringing blankets and throwing on extra layers. The administration is working on the problem. However, due to the size of the building, the process is going to be long and no date for a fix has been announced.

Finding cheaper and no-cost textbooks is something students want, and the faculty is being urged to adopt. 

“We are transitioning to OER,” explained Dr. Matthew Reed, vice president for learning. OER, or Open Education Resource, refers to faculty choosing textbooks and other resources available free online. 

“The goal is to go through a degree plan without books,” Reed said. He discussed how book publishers are combatting the used book market by requiring access codes for online materials rendering some used books useless without their online counterpart.  

Reed said that New Jersey has started looking into using OER, and Brookdale is already ahead of other schools when it comes to this process. 

“We are making progress. We’ve already saved (students) $1 million in 2018 in textbook fees. Tell your teachers,” Reed told the group of about 50 students who attended the 11:45 a.m. program in the Navesink rooms.  

The cafeteria is now obtaining some of its produce, and all of its fruit, from local farms. On the topic of food, questions were raised about certain cafeteria prices that seemed oddly higher than expected. The staff stated that all of the food prepared is done so manually by the chefs and that this extent of labor may be reflected in prices. However, students may see possible discounts in the future, as well as more vegetarian options.

Concerns about the lockdown and shelter-in-place procedures were also raised. Many were confused that there was even a difference between the two.  

“The shelter-in-place procedure is to lock all doors outside and maintain college operations,” said President David Stout.  

“We are working on communications with our chief of police,” Stout said. He explained that the college and the police department are working on a megaphone system on the police cars and having the LED signs on both ends of campus switch when necessary to let those outside of the buildings know about emergency situations, such as shelter-in-place and lockdowns. 

Lockdowns are for active threats on campus grounds vs shelter-in-place that are used for keeping outside threats from coming onto the campus. This question came about because of the shelter-in-place that occurred earlier this semester when an incident involving a robbery happened in neighboring Tinton Falls. 

Students looking for more information on these or other topics can contact the Student Life Board at [email protected]