Student Advocacy

As part of the Associated Students of College of the Redwoods (ASCR), I went down to the LA area for the California Community College Student Affairs Association (CCCSAA) Conference. Over 50 community colleges state-wide attended this conference, and many students were able to gain new friends, allies in student government, and ideas for involving students at their campuses. The Conference had a day of workshops for which students had the choice of attending, these ranged from creating a more ‘Green’ campus, to how to communicate to your congressman, to how to become more active in your school’s politics. While many of the campuses had a very diverse group of students on the individual level, many community college campuses face the same exact challenges. I discovered that the community college down in the San Francisco area also faces accreditation issues, and many students developed new networks to bounce ideas and strategies off each other to try and fix this growing problem.  

            While attending these workshops and other meetings with other community college members, a very important and common problem that nearly all community colleges share is a severe lack in student involvement. Here at College of the Redwoods, many students are unaware of the existence of a student government, let alone who makes up the student government or of the rights and powers the student government possesses. Unfortunately, I was one of these students my first two semesters here at College of the Redwoods, but now that I have found my motivation to be a proactive member in my school, I find students lack of enthusiasm disheartening. Students seem to share this belief that community college means less than other forms of higher education; this is not so. Community colleges open doorways for people, offer helping hands to those who have struggled before in their past, and give people fresh starts to a life they want to have. Community college is one of the first big steps in higher education, and numerous people across the globe do not share this same privilege. CR allowed me to find the right career path, without the severe cost most Universities or CSU’s cause their students; it gave me the flexibility and freedom to maintain my love of learning. Community colleges, for many people, are the only reason they were able to turn their life around due to high costs at Universities and the accessibility found only at community colleges. So, while I understand that many students who attend community colleges do not have spare time, usually work a part-time or full time job while being a full time student, and many have families to support, being an active member of your school community will never be a waste of time.

Without student involvement and support, community colleges crumble from within. I know many students notice the issues surrounding their schools. I know many students wish circumstances were different or better. Many students just do not know what they can do as one lone person trying to create a better life for themselves. But there are many things students can do; students have one of the loudest voices due to their sheer numbers if they just stand up shout. Writing letters to congressman, being proactive in student government, attending even a few school committee meetings to better understand the developments in your school all help when trying to fix problems at a school campus. Asking questions is always a good place to start. As an Eureka Representative, I will always try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. Please feel free to contact me at achiatovich580@mycr.redwoods.edu or stop by the ASCR office located on the outside of the Physical Science building facing the first lake.

  

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