ASDVC Members Bring Student Issues to Nation’s Capital, Share Presentations with U.S Congressmen

ASDVC Members Bring Student Issues to Nation’s Capital, Share Presentations with U.S Congressmen

Andrea Madison, Editor-in-Chief

The Associated Students of Diablo Valley College (ASDVC) traveled to the nation’s capital last month to attend the National Student Advocacy Conference and discuss current issues facing college students across the country.

ASDVC members visiting Washington, D.C., also had an opportunity to speak directly with the congressional staff of four U.S. congressmen from California and a U.S. senator, with whom they shared their perspectives on a range of topics impacting students.

The conference, held on March 19 and 20 and hosted by the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC), enabled ASDVC members to discuss priorities including Pell Grants, DACA and Dream Act legislation, the America’s College Promise Program and the Higher Education Act Reauthorization, said Kevin Li, ASDVC’s vice president of legislative affairs.

“Deliberation [during the conference] mostly involved weighing the pros and cons of each issue and their relevant proposals, along with which of these four should be prioritized the most,” Li said.

According to its website, ASACC is a national organization providing leadership, citizenship and advocacy opportunities to community college student government leaders, and is the only association dedicated exclusively to these leaders.

ASACC members, featuring students drawn from ten regions nationwide, meet three times a year.

ASDVC’s five-day trip to the capital included museum visits and culminated when students had the chance to meet with staff members of California representatives Mark DeSaulnier, Eric Swalwell, Mike Thompson and Jerry McNerney, as well as the staff of U.S. Senator Alex Padilla of California.

 

All but one of the ASDVC student presentations occurred virtually, with the sole in-person presentation taking place in Rep. DeSaulnier’s office.

The ASDVC group was split into two teams, said Li, which allowed students to discuss two topics with members of each congressional office.

“The first team gave a presentation on Pell Grants and student finances, while the second gave a presentation on DACA and undocumented students,” Li explained.

Several months of research and preparation went into ASDVC’s presentations, said Li. The planning process required “countless revisions and rehearsals.”

“The end of our fourth day was spent on technical rehearsals and last-minute revisions,” he said.

In the end, the group “learned some valuable information from these Congressional staff members about student advocacy,” Li added.

“These [student] presentations left a clear impact on most who were present, and it was clear that our hard work was worthwhile.”