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STLCC Reps Participate in National Student Advocacy Conference

April 09, 2014

Visitors to Blunt's office  
Students and staff visit U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s
office in Washington, D.C., to discuss student
aid issues. They are, from left, Donivan Foster,
coordinator of student orientation and transition
at STLCC-Forest Park; STLCC students Mame
Ndiaye, Katia Rodgers, Orianna Wood and
Anela Beslagic; and Stephanie Graham,
coordinator of campus life and college transition
at STLCC-Wildwood.

Students from St. Louis Community College recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the American Student Association of Community Colleges’ (ASACC) 30th annual National Student Advocacy Conference.


The focus of the conference was to educate and involve students in supporting critical grant and loan programs that open the doors of higher education to millions of Americans. 


“The highlight of the conference was getting to work closely with the driving forces behind what we know of today as the Pell Grant,” said Stephanie Graham, coordinator of campus l at STLCC-Wildwood.


Students met personally with Frank Mensel, ASACC’s public policy advisor and Lois Rice, Miriam Carliner Scholar in Economics at Brookings, who is known as the “mother of the Pell Grant.”


The students planned to spend just a few minutes speaking with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s staff, but staff members were so interested in learning about the students’ experiences and hearing their concerns that the visit lasted two hours. Students discussed the Pell Grant, the DREAM Act, and the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act.


Students also learned how to effectively represent their constituencies and causes through workshops, and previewed “Pell Grants: A Passion for Education,” a documentary about the behind-the-scenes battles for the Pell Grant going on now and in the past.


“Our students and others from around the country were very engaged in looking for solutions that positively impact a person’s ability to pursue higher education no matter what their economic background,” Graham said.


ASACC is a student-centered, national network of student governments through which student leaders learn, serve, speak and act in behalf of that constituency. ASACC members represent 11.5 million students enrolled in America’s 1,200 community colleges.