Eight Clark College students traveled to Olympia on February 22 to ask local legislators for support on a number of key issues facing the college. The students – accompanied by Clark College President Dr. R. Wayne Branch, Executive Dean of Planning and Advancement Candy Bennett, and Director of Student Life Karen Brown – met with legislators at the State Capitol.
The legislators -- Rep. Bruce Chandler, Rep. Jim Dunn, Rep. Bill Fromhold, Sen. Jim Honeyford, Rep. Jim Moeller, Sen. Craig Pridemore, and Rep. Deb Wallace – heard requests for additional support for the Educational Opportunity Grant (EOG) program and for accommodations for students with disabilities. The students noted that the latter issue has special urgency at Clark College because it is the next step on the educational path for many students at the Washington State School for the Deaf and the State School for the Blind, which are located close to Clark College’s main campus in Vancouver.
Student representatives who traveled to Olympia included: College Council member Mariah Acton, Student ambassador Christina Baghdanov, Associated Students of Clark College (ASCC) Public Relations Director Lukas Bardue, ASCC Finance Director Benjamin Hayford, Peer mentor Mark Lewis, ASCC Vice President Amanda Mayoral, student Nicole Laura Porter, and Student Life representative Justin Taylor.
During the meeting, Rep. Bill Fromhold explained how a bill moves through the legislative process. Rep. Bruce Chandler told the students that he was happy to welcome them, adding, “Everyone should have the opportunity to observe the legislature in person at some time in their lives.”
Dr. R. Wayne Branch, Clark College President, said, “Southwest Washington is the fastest growing region in the state and Clark College is underfunded in terms of the students we serve. It’s important to let our legislators hear directly from our students about the need for support in critical areas. And I know that the legislators were pleased to have an opportunity to talk one-on-one with the students in their districts.”
Following the luncheon meeting with legislators, the students sat in on a hearing of the House Economic Development, Agriculture and Trade Committee then toured the State Capitol building before returning to Vancouver.