New adviser ‘optimistic’ despite challenges
While studying sociology at Chico State, both as an undergraduate and graduate student, Alex Kokkinakis couldn’t help but hear about S.T.O.P. Her mentor, Janja Lalich, was a driving force in founding the organization—whose acronym stands for Stop Trafficking of Persons—and a lot of her friends, and many people in the department, got involved.
Lalich retired after this past academic year, and fellow faculty adviser Kate Transchel will do so next summer. Stepping into the void is Kokkinakis, now a lecturer in sociology, religious studies and the First-Year Experience Program.
“I’ve been on the sidelines and always been very supportive, but I’m actually really excited now to be in this position,” she said.
Though Lalich and Transchel advise the new adviser, Kokkinakis holds the title officially. Technically, S.T.O.P. is a community organization, with membership open to anyone, rather than a student organization, but it’s campus-based.
Transchel told the CN&R that the annual Human Trafficking Awareness Week for 2018 probably would not happen because of financial issues. She said S.T.O.P. had gotten five years’ funding from Associated Students; that has expired. Meanwhile, with a revolving door in the provost’s office, the event has struggled to secure academic monies.
Kokkinakis holds a brighter outlook. With Debra Larson hired as provost, she sees potential for sustained support. Meanwhile, she and the “motivated group of officers” are considering a scaled-back version of the conference, without outside experts if they can’t afford speaking fees.
“I’m optimistic,” Kokkinakis said. “Certainly I understand Kate’s frustration trying to find any kind of funding on campus … but either way, we’re going to have a lot of events coming up on campus this year.”