Wave Staff Report
COMPTON — A delegation of student leaders from Compton College recently returned from Washington, D.C. where they spent four days discussing issues that impact community college students during the 28th annual National Student Advocacy Conference hosted by the American Student Association of Community Colleges.
They also visited members of Congress from California to advocate on behalf of their fellow students for increased federal investment in higher education.
Five members of Compton College’s Associated Student Government met with 350 fellow student leaders from across the country.
“The contribution of Compton College at the ASACC National Student Advocacy Conference was important for the students at their college,” said Phil Clegg, executive director of the association. “The Dream Act, Pell Grants, America’s College, and Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act are critical issues concerning community college students and ensuring they have the resources needed to fulfill their educational goals.”
Compton College Associated Student Government members advocated for key issues by meeting with the offices of U.S. Reps. Robert Garcia and Maxine Waters, as well as visiting the Hart Senate Office Building. During the visits, the student advocates discussed the importance of sustaining and increasing the Pell Grant and making it available year-round, and reauthorizing the law that governs all student aid which has been delayed for more than 15 years.
With the current battle over budget, spending and modifications to student financial aid programs, the student advocacy is timely. Students also encouraged Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act, providing a path to citizenship for children who were brought here by their families.
“I am so proud to talk about the opportunities Compton College offers, such as sending a student-led delegation to serve as a voice for our student population,” said Compton College Associated Student Government President Paul Medina, who attended the conference. “Having the support from the college made it possible for student government leaders to travel to Washington D.C. for this conference and advocate to members of Congress regarding programs and services pivotal for the success of community college students.
“Programs and services such as the increase of financial aid awards through the Pell Grants; a pathway for citizenship for undocumented, DACA, and dreamer students; additional funding for workforce and career education programs; and support for resources and transfer pathways to HBCU and HSI campuses, which help in providing an equitable education.”
In addition to Medina, Compton College’s Associated Student Government delegation included Commissioner of Clubs & Organizations Sandra Martinez, Commissioner of Public Relations Tameira Franklin, and Compton Community College District Student Trustee Kendra Carnes.
The meetings and workshops held at the conference prepared the students for their meetings with members of Congress or their staff. Highlights of the conference included speakers from ForCollegeForLife, Inc. and Congressional Management Foundation.
Brad Fitch from the Congressional Management Foundation spoke to the group about ways they can enhance their grassroots organizing. Jasmine Williams spoke to student leaders about their campus roles and fulfilling the responsibilities of the positions they hold. Evan Austin and Casey Cornelius opened and concluded the conference by discussing strategies to improve leadership among students and combat apathy.