By Vicky Nguyen
When Jasine Cumplido was looking for a job as a student on East Los Angeles College campus, she could have spent hours researching online.
Instead, Cumplido drafted a question and posted it on Facebook.
“Does anyone know of any departments on campus that hire student workers without work study?? I need a job and I just found out I don’t qualify for work study because I’m receiving [sic] a Cal Grant,” Cumplido’s post reads.
Within 20 minutes after Cumplido posted her original question, she began to get answers.
“Writing center,” one student said.
“Bilingual?? If you are try outreach,” another said.
Many Elans, such as Cumplido, prefer to rely on “Elac book sale,” a Facebook group with over 7,500 active members and 11,000 total members, when they have questions about their financial aid, want to sell or buy textbooks, or need to vent about frustrating situations.
While the group is called “Elac Book Sale,” the group is a resource for a variety of things in addition to simply buying and selling textbooks.
On the group’s discussion page, announcements for club activities, upcoming events, questions about classes and even warnings to students about potential threats can be found.
Cumplido, a sociology major, is planning to go to a sociology meet this week after seeing an annoucement about it posted on the page.
She said she browses the group daily and makes posts herself about once a month asking various questions.
One of her previous questions was about water bottle refilling stations on campus.
The group was created in 2012 when Facebook admin Sergio Ramos, a former criminal justice student at ELAC, had difficulty finding affordable textbooks for his courses.
And while you can find many similar groups on Facebook today, only “Elac book sale” has such an active and large community. During the beginning of each session, the page is the most active. It had an average of almost 50 posts and 1,700 comments a day during the week leading up to Spring semester and first two weeks during the semester.
Most of the posts are about financial aid concerns.
The page is so popular that page moderators had to start banning posts unrelated to ELAC.
Ramos sees the community as a way for students to easily find solutions among themselves, when it may be too difficult or intimidating to go through official channels.
“Campus has to work with enough students,” Ramos said. “How is administration or financial aid offices going to have the time for all those students?”
The group is simply a place for students to connect with one another.
“I definitely think it’s a way for people to come together, with this common thing that we all have, and it’s being a student here on this campus,” Cumplido said.
“It’s really nice to have somewhere we can all just help each other out.”