Given the uncertainties that we’ve all had to experience in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, a financial crisis, a racial justice crisis and wildfires across California, I see it as my duty to make sure that none of my fellow BC Renegades are left behind.

As the current president of Bakersfield College’s Student Government Association, I am uniquely committed to helping every student thrive and take pride in what it means to say “We Are BC” during another semester in a virtual environment.

I want to make sure that each member of the student body feels included and connected to the campus, and I know that BC’s professors, tutors, counselors and staff want the same. While we are disconnected in person, we are all connected virtually, so it is important to stay involved with our various student activities and engaged with your fellow students on all of the virtual platforms we have available. When I started as a BC student, I saw the value of becoming involved on campus through SGA, and I don’t know where I would be on my educational journey without it.

Staying connected and staying involved is what will help us thrive and help us locate the campus resources we need to be successful. As one example, the BC Inter-Club Council meets virtually every first and third Friday, helping to create Zoom meeting rooms for student organizations and planning cross-club events. I am amazed by the commitment of the Student Life Office to keep these students connected, and I am proud to be a part of this office.

Another one of our efforts to keep students engaged has been our Renegade Discord server. It’s simple yet effective, and students are active 24 hours a day chatting about classes, playing video games, watching movies and posting memes. It is an informal, but practical method for students to connect. I have experienced other professors and departments creating their own Discords in an effort to provide personalized digital meeting spaces for all to hang out in and communicate in real time with each other. We will start supporting community study hall sessions with tutors in the next month.

I hope my fellow Renegades keep the faith and keep up the good high spirits.

Furthermore, I hope our Renegades continue to be a source of inspiration for this community. Despite everything that has happened, I know we can get through this as a stronger and better community.

Our character will be measured by how we respond and act under these circumstances. It is in our hands to help pave the way for a better future. The college’s leadership has committed to innovative tools that will keep us safe while progressing toward our academic goals. We should effectively use this opportunity to continue earning the rigorous and high quality education offered at BC. We have the power to make the most of these troubling times, and I know, as fellow Renegades, we can get through this together because #WeAreBC!

Gian Gayatao is the current BC SGA president and is majoring in history.