By Alex Olivares
Santa Ana College’s Associated Student Government hosted a workshop Jan. 24 for a group of student senators from across the region for the first time in the college’s history.
The event follows a tumultuous year of ASG follies and missteps resulting in a handful of resignations and accusations of corruption and vote-rigging.
The workshop on legislative advocacy prepared student leaders to make visits to the Capitol on behalf of their constituents.
“Santa Ana College really has never advocated on that level consistently,” ASG Adviser and Student Activities Coordinator Lakyshia Perez said. “However, we plan to go to Sacramento in March.”
About 30 student leaders attended, representing seven different colleges from Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Though schools from two other regions of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges were invited, only those from Region VIII participated, with the addition of one student senator from Pasadena City College.
Hosting the event at SAC was an idea first brought up by Region VIII Representative Kendra Barnes at an interregional meeting, Perez said.
At the workshop, Barnes spoke about how a bill is enacted into law and advised senators to be knowledgeable on student issues when meeting with legislators.
“Never say, ‘I think,’” Barnes advised attendees. “You know you represent 200,000 or two point whatever million students. Or just your local constituency, which for my [Associated Student Organization] is, I think, like 18,000 students. [Region Chair] Jimmy [Koh] would know.”
Attendees also discussed behavior and appearance during a legislative visit.
One exercise led by former Student Trustee Ryan Ahari featured a naïve student senator in a mock meeting who introduced himself through bear hugs before answering phone calls. Ahari also gave fashion tips to remember when going to the Capitol, including avoiding white socks when wearing black suits and leaving noisy footwear at home.
The workshop ended with a meet and greet with elected officials.
A hurried review of the guest official’s titles and constituencies preceded their appearance by about 30 minutes.
State Senators Lou Correa and Mimi Walters, and Assemblymen Tom Daly and Travis Allen provided information on internships for the summer and posed for photo-ops, Perez said.
ASG plans to host more events throughout this semester to continue building upon leadership skills.
“We also will have a regular leadership retreat for just SAC ASG in February,” Perez said. “We hope to have some sorts of workshops to supplement their learning as leaders.”