Julius Laurentius (right), the secretary of Student Congress, meets with a student during the first Snack & Chat on Nov. 2. (Photo courtesy of Timothy Lum)

By Micah Tutuvanu | Staff Writer

At one point in my educational journey, I struggled due to the inaccessibility of resources. I felt like I had no one to turn to, no one to talk to. My father had been laid off from his work, and it was a struggle to pay the bills.

Fortunately, my middle school counselor reached out to me, and offered a lending hand. They discussed programs that helped combat food insecurity and financial insecurity — issues that are prominent in student life. It felt as if a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. Prior to the free and reduced lunch program, my parents had a hard time paying for my and my brother’s school lunch.

It is resources like these that I want students to know about.

When I thought about what I wanted to do here at Kapiʻolani Community College, one of my biggest goals was to join Student Congress. As the public relations officer of Student Congress, I hope to let others know about resources that’ll benefit them and combat issues in their life. I drew inspiration from my past and used that to help others who might be struggling now. Especially college students, who have to worry about paying off their tuition, grocery shopping and many other financial burdens.

Marketing is difficult because you have to appeal to the students. It was a concept I was not familiar with. I pondered on different ways to reach out to the students, but none of them worked. That is until one day I was scrolling through the Student Congress Instagram (@kapccsc) and found stories from 2019 about Snack & Chats.

The Snack & Chats will occur the first and last Wednesday of every month by the Great Lawn. (Photo courtesy of Julius Laurentius)

A unique marketing tactic, Snack & Chats are casual conversations with students while snacking. A lot of students go hungry, so it’d be nice to feed them while they discuss their student life issues with us. I figured I’d bring it back, after its discontinuation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Student Congress hosted its very first Snack & Chat post-Covid on Nov. 2 at the Great Lawn. It was a success, gathering input from a vast amount of students from different walks of life. After noting its success, I decided that Student Congress will host it for the remainder of the school year on the first Wednesday and last Wednesday of the month.

The Snack & Chats will fall on these days:
Nov. 30 (Last Snack & Chat of the fall semester)
Jan. 11 and Jan. 25
Feb. 1 and Feb. 22
March 1 and March 29
April 5 and April 26
May 3
*All of these Snack & Chat’s will be at the Great Lawn from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Like my counselor, I want to be able to reach out to students who are struggling. I want them to know that they’re not alone.

Student Congress is the voice of the students, and there are many resources available to help combat their issues. Students struggle with a lot that the faculty and staff may not see. Being able to provide a safe space and have students discuss with us in regards to what affects their college experience goes a long way. We utilize that information to see what we can do on our part and work with the faculty/staff in regards to that.

It’s important to have the students’ voices heard, and that’s exactly what I want to do. It’s important to get involved and help others. With these Snack & Chats, Student Congress is able to help students to the best of their abilities and get a gist of recurring problems on campus. Reaching out to someone can go a long way at the end of the day.

Throughout my experience with the first Snack & Chat, it opened my eyes to the issues that occur on campus. Issues such as food insecurity or even complaints about no gym on campus were brought up by fellow students.

As Student Congress hosts more Snack & Chats, I hope to get a gist of what issues we can help students with to make student life more easier. Going forward, Student Congress will do what they can to resolve said issues. Until then, it is important for students to visit us during our Snack & Chats and discuss it with us.