State and community college students met in different parts of California over the weekend to discuss how to get engaged and how to address issues that face the state’s public school and higher education system.
CSSA CHESS Conference – Sacramento
Is there apathy on California State University campuses? No way, says David Hawkins, a former student activist and founder of an advocacy training program.
“Apathy is the big lie. It’s not that students don’t care,” said Hawkins, speaking to a crowded room of CSU students in Sacramento. It’s just that they often don’t know how to take their concerns and turn them into positive action.
250 students from 23 CSU campuses gathered in Sacramento April 15-18 for a conference designed to increase student involvement – the California State Student Association’s California Higher Education Student Summit.
Now in its 16th year, the conference teaches CSU students about policy issues and how to change them for the better, explained Miles Jason Nevin, executive director of the CSU Association. California Forward’s Fred Keeley presented a workshop on the five basic challenges to governance in California.
Students, many sporting shirts that said “I am made in the CSU,” said they felt hopeful and energized by the gathering. “I want to get more involved on campus and make sure my voice is heard,” said Jaclyn Moran, 20, of California State University, East Bay.
Mobilize 2020 Summit – San Jose
More than 100 student leaders from 17 Northern California community colleges gathered for Mobilize.org’s Target 2020 Summit from April 15-17 to address California’s educational policy issues.
Many students at the event – most under 25 – have come from underserved and disenfranchised communities. They’re a product of California’s broken public school systems, and receiving an underfunded education has been their norm.
The 100 young people at the summit lead clubs that provide solutions to the challenges of high dropout rates, violence and poverty. Students presented innovative business plans to compete for up to $7,500 for their school clubs that connect students with critical educational, financial, and peer resources. The Community College System is particularly important to these students, because it’s often their only a gateway to better opportunities ahead.
The room was energized with young, bright, inspirational, optimistic, caring and idealistic leaders. They see the issues in their communities as an opportunity to create positive change through a combination of civic engagement, coupled with making a direct impact using the few resources they have.