Ratana Kim assumed the new role of Student Congress president as of Spring 2024. (Photo courtesy of Ratana Kim)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

Ratana Kim, the previous Student Congress secretary, will be taking on the role of president beginning this semester. The previous president, Kimberly Song, graduated in the fall and has transferred to UH Mānoa to continue her studies in psychology. As Kim assumes his new position, he shared that he is excited to make new connections and learn more about how student congress works in collaboration with campus and community groups.

“I initially joined Student Congress because I was a very quiet and introverted person,” said Kim, a Liberal Arts major. “I wanted to find a way to be more outgoing and get involved at KCC because all of my classes were online during the pandemic and I couldn’t see anyone since I had to stay at home.”

The 22-year-old student from Phnom Penh, Cambodia became a part of Student Congress as the secretary towards the end of the spring semester in 2023. His responsibilities as secretary included taking minute notes at general and executive meetings, managing Google calendar schedules, and keeping documents organized. As president, Kim will take on different responsibilities where he will be able to apply the skills he developed as secretary.

“I think the role of president has a greater responsibility when it comes to talking to faculty and staff, especially with the chancellor since I have to meet with her one-on-one every month,” Kim said. “We talk about the initiatives that we want to work on with her and any goals that we are looking to reach during the semester.”

In the fall semester, Song stated that the initiatives for Student Congress focused on food insecurity and lowering summer tuition. According to Kim, the initiatives for the spring semester are still being planned. However, bringing a variety of food options to campus is still a priority.

Another task that Kim will assist in facilitating is meeting with other student leaders from the 7 UH community college campuses across Hawaiʻi. Once a month, Kim and the vice president, Zachary Gibson, will meet with other student congresses to discuss possible collaboration on certain topics and issues that each campus is experiencing.

As president, Kim anticipates being faced with difficulties both systemically and personally. However, he remains eager to find solutions that work for everyone and embody the role of a leader.

“I think the challenge I’ll face is having to deal with people who don’t support our goals,” Kim said. “If they don’t support our goals it will be hard because of all the anxiety and stress I’ll have on top of school work. Not to mention I’m still learning English, but I think I’ve improved a lot with my grammar and accent. This semester I’m looking forward to working with my friends in Student Congress as a team and continuing to make a positive difference on campus and for future students.”

The secretary position for Student Congress is vacant, and students interested in applying can contact Shannon Sakaue, the advisor for Student Congress, via email at sks78@hawaii.edu.