Student trustee candidates announced

By Denis Perez, Creative Director

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At the state level of the community college system, the voices of Contra Costa College students can become muted by politics, indifference or simply because of a lack of communication by administrators.

The opportunity to serve as student trustee on the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board delivers power to enact direct, positive change in the lives of students in this district and statewide.

Every year, the role of student trustee is rotated between students from Contra Costa College, Los Medanos College or Diablo Valley College.

This year, CCC will be electing one of its own as the District Student Trustee.

CCC Muslim Student Association President Hasna Alawdi and speech team member Shreejal Luitel are the candidates who applied for the student trustee position.

Voting will occur online on the InSite Portal website at 4cd.edu from May 13-15 on the district website CCC Outreach Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks said. The candidates will have to do their own campaigning and cannot be assisted by the Student Life Office, he said.

The Student Life Office and the district will work together to have information on the candidates placed on the website and easy access to the voting site, he said.

Leading the MSA, Alawdi said she interacts with the diverse student body at CCC and has worked alongside college administrators to create events and provide resources to students.

Alawdi said she sees the need for minority women to become leaders at the college and on the district level to better represent students like her.

Like Alawdi, Luitel, a Middle College High School student, is heavily involved in student life at CCC.

Luitel recently competed in a national speech and debate tournament alongside other speech team members. He also co-founded a non-profit organization that helps young people learn to code — Richmondcodes.org.

Currently, Los Medanos College student Jocelyn Villalobos holds the trustee position.

“This changed my life, my career goal and my outlook on how I see the district and the California community college system,” Villalobos said.

Since last year until now, she said she has gained a deep understanding of how the district operates. She said developing a grasp on district processes has motivated her to speak up more often.

In February, Villalobos enlightened attendees at the 2019 Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington D.C. about living conditions some LMC students face.

“I didn’t want to just talk. I wanted to show them,” Villalobos said.

Taking out her phone, she pulled up a video circulating on Instagram that documented an LMC student sleeping in their car.

She said, “They (congressional members) don’t usually interact with students and a lot of students are struggling.”

Villalobos said, as student trustee, it is her job to close the gap between a student’s reality and what administrators perceive students go through.

Alawdi and Luitel will begin campaigning on May 1 starting at 5:01 p.m. Prior to that specific time, students are not allowed to campaign for the position.

The candidates will also debate at CCC, LMC and DVC on dates coordinated by each campuses’ Associated Student Union.

Nickelson-Shanks said, “I am confident both candidates have the following and resources they can tap into to earn votes.”

He said both of their backgrounds make them strong candidates who can spur the attention of the campus and influence the student body to participate in this election.

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