By Brendan Madden
A delegation of student leaders from Cuyahoga Community College just returned from Washington D.C. where they spent four days discussing critical issues that impacts community college students, and then visited members of Congress from Ohio to advocate on behalf of their fellow students for increased federal investment in higher education.
West and Westhore students: Kirby Copper, Kristen Septaric, Mackenzie Macura, Nicholas Protiva, Madison Bakos, Brendan Madden, Ronald Gettys, and Katelyn Koo took the travel to Washington D.C. They met with 325 student leaders from across the country.
“The contribution of Tri-C at the American Student Association of Community Colleges National Student Advocacy Conference was important for the students at their college,” said Phil Clegg, Executive Director of ASACC. Clegg continues, “Pell Grant funding DACA/Dreamers and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act are critical issues concerning community college student and ensuring they have the resources needed to fulfill their educational goals.
”The students of Tri-C advocated for those priorities as they met with the offices of Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Jim Renacci, and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. During these 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 four years.
With the current battle over the budget, spending and modifications to student financial aid programs, the timing for their visit could not have been better. The meetings and workshops held over the course of the conference prepared the students for their meetings with Members of Congress or their staff. A highlight of the conference was an address by three-time presidential candidate, Ralph Nader. Nader provided the attendees with valuable information on their priorities and thanked them for representing their colleges during this critical time.
Nader also spoke about the importance of student leaders having a presence in Washington, D.C. so they are not among the “forgotten.” He encouraged students to continue to be involved in the political process and in working and volunteering to make our country better.