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Student Body President Jacky Tran Reflects on his Presidency

Picture of campus

June 13, 2017
By Tori Flores, Public Information Office Work Study

It might surprise you to find that Jacky Tran, President of South Seattle College’s 2016-2017 United Student Association (USA) is just like any other student at South. He loves playing video games and watching TV shows, especially cartoons. He likes to tinker, and would much rather take apart and repair his broken watch himself than take it into a shop. This quarter, Jacky will graduate with his Associate of Science degree, with plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn his bachelor’s in engineering.  
I met with Jacky and asked him to reflect on his time in office at South Seattle College. Enjoy!

Q: What projects did you get to accomplish during your time in office?   

A: Our team has been doing really great work on sustainability this year. During Earth Week we had a volunteer event where we passed out sustainable water bottles. It really goes to show how serious we are about the issues that we are faced with, even though there’s like a stigma that young people don’t care about issues on campus. Personally, planning the new wellness center on campus has been a big project, and I’ve been reviewing the designs for that. Of course I’m a student, not an architect, but that’s something I’ve voiced my opinion on.

Q: What got you interested in politics?

A: I’m not that much of a politics person, but it comes with the territory. Going into student government, I was more concerned with giving back to the community. I’m a 13th Year Promise Scholarship recipient, and South has been a really big part in helping me continue my education. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to go to college without it, and I wanted to give back.
After doing my job in student government for a while and figuring out what it’s all about, that’s when I started looking at things like our transportation policies, social justice issues and voter registration.

Q: This quarter, the USA, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Student Life partnered to establish a food pantry on campus to support students who are dealing with food insecurity.  Can you tell us about how that came to be?

A: The on campus food pantry was something that was discussed at a Board of Trustees meeting, and we started looking into where we could house it, what kind of foods we would need and how much demand there was for it this year. South’s Phi Theta Kappa organization already had connections with food banks and food centers because they do food drives every now and then, so it wasn’t too hard to get connected to outside organizations that help out with donations. It was a collaborative process.

Colby Keene, South’s Campus Recreation Coordinator let us house the food pantry in his store room. He really helped us with setting it up. Shout-out to Colby! Both USA and PTK funds went into a pool to collect food and get it started. Now that we’ve started, we are getting more information and using that to pull in more organizations in the hopes that it becomes self-sustaining.

Q: Why do you love South and why is USA is an important organization to have on campus?

A: I mentioned I was a 13th Year student. I remember South reps coming to my high school and saying, “Hey, you can go to college for free,” and I was like “Hey, I need that!” So I was able to go to college which was awesome, and that’s what got me started at South.

Through work study opportunities, I ended up working with Colby Keene and developing a good relationship with him. It was fun being on campus and working with him on different projects. I did that for my first year, and I met a lot of people in the South game room. You get to hear all these stories from people of different backgrounds. That year I ended up going to a USA meeting and ended up staying for the whole thing. I was basically one of them by the end of it. Later that year I ran for the presidency, went unopposed and got the position!

USA has always been a huge part of our campus, but they’re not always visible. A lot of the fundraising events USA does are about helping others and making connections. We just want to do our part and help students anyway we can.