American River College Associated Student Body President Craig Bundy and his senate met with lawmakers at the State Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 8, for the 2012 Lobby Day. The event was held exclusively for the schools in the Los Rios Community College District. Student senates from the colleges met with senate and assembly members to discuss their concerns, primarily the matter of funding cuts made to education.
Tanika Byrd, ARC’s Campus Life coordinator and director of Student Development accompanied Bundy and his senate; NaKisha Allen, Aaron Steinbach, Quierra Robey, and Shaine Johnson.
Listed are some of the issues they brought to the discussion.
Allen, who is the director of finance for the Club and Events Board and director of public relations for the ARC student senate, said her focal point “mainly involves student advocacy and us being able to afford college educations so that California can get back on the map.”
Bundy agreed by adding, “I’m mainly trying to focus on expanding the students’ avenues for advocacy through their legislative bodies.”
Robey, director of legislative affairs and delegate for ARC, expressed her views on legislators’ cuts to education, saying, “Legislators feel that they can increase tuition, however (they) cut the money that we need, for instance, the Cal Grant and the Pell Grant. Community college students go to community colleges for a reason; they need an education so they can go into the workforce. When you take educators away from them, how can they possibly go into the workforce with what they need? So you’re basically looking at the investment. Why is it important to invest in community colleges? They are taking away the most revenue that they can get away with (and) from the worst place.”
Johnson, the student trustee for the LRCCD, who represents students on the governing boards, supported Robey, saying that his main focus of the day was access for students to our colleges. “We’re turning away hundreds of thousands of students. … The state’s just not funding it. We don’t have the money to pay the instructors to train the students in the classes that the students need in the workforce to bring this economy back.”
Bundy and his senate agreed that the 2012 Lobby Day gave students the chance to experience the “real life” challenges within the state-governed world. Bundy expressed his opinion of the event by saying, “This is a great educational tool and we are very lucky to have it.” Bundy hopes that more students will get involved in future events at the Capitol, which could have an impact on all community college students.