Advocating for community college students is a major part of serving on the Associated Students of Moorpark College (ASMC) Board of Directors. Students serving on the Board of Directors represent Moorpark College students on campus, within the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD), and at the state and national levels.
What is civic engagement?
Civic engagement "means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes...a morally and civically responsible individual recognizes himself or herself as a member of a larger social fabric and therefore considers social problems to be at least partly his or her own; such an individual is willing to see the moral and civic dimensions of issues, to make and justify informed moral and civic judgments, and to take action when appropriate." (Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, edited by Thomas Ehrlich, Oryx Press, 2000).
Ways to be civically engaged
Here are some ways Moorpark College students and members of the broader community can become more civically engaged:
Vote! Voting gives you a chance to voice your opinion and elect leaders and representatives who will stand for matters that are important to you.
Volunteer in your community! Getting involved in community activities increases your knowledge on local social or political issues, making you more informed and confident when taking a stance on an issue.
Know your local representatives! Take time to know who your local legislators are because their daily work directly affects your community.
Attend Chamber of Commerce or community committee meetings! Similar to volunteering, listening in on Chamber of Commerce or local government committee meetings is a great way to hear about important civic issues in your community. Most meetings give time for public comment, where you can voice your concerns regarding issues.
Start a petition! See something that your local government officials or City Council aren't addressing? Rally up support for your concern and your ideas for addressing it by collecting signatures or getting people to mail in postcards, expressing their dissent. These smaller grassroots campaigns can have a big impact.
Moorpark College voter registration resource page: MC has partnered with TurboVote to make voting easier by tracking your local and national elections, and by facilitating the voter registration or absentee ballot process. Visit our website for additional information: https://moorpark.turbovote.org/.
Andrew Goodman Foundation: The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) "works to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy." Visit the AGF webpage to access voter resource and more about their work: www.andrewgoodman.org.
Ballotpedia: According to its website, Ballotpedia "is a nonprofit and nonpartisan online political encyclopedia written by a staff of researchers and writers. Founded in 2007, it covers American federal, state, and local politics, elections, and public policy." Students can use Ballotpedia to find out which seats are up for election in the coming election year or to learn about elections in other states. Visit https://ballotpedia.org/ to learn more.
BallotReady: Find "everything on your ballot, in one place" with this online resource that allows you to explore the background of every candidate or referendum on your ballot and even compare candidates on where they stand with specific issues. Check it out at https://www.ballotready.org/.
Best Colleges: BestColleges.com has put together a series of guides for the upcoming election season, intended to help educate college students about how to register to vote or what they should know before casting their votes. Sample resources include: Student Voters Guide (https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/student-voting-guide/); Voting in College - Common FAQs guide (https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/voting-in-college/); State-by-State Voter Registration Guide (https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/voting-by-state/).
Campus Vote Project: Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting. Their website provides a lot of great information regarding policy issues, and it includes guidelines on how to start a voter registration program on campus: http://campusvoteproject.org/students/.
Find your Rep: The U.S. House of Representatives website provides its Find Your Representative resource where you can learn which representatives were elected to serve in your area: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
Generation Citizen: Generation Citizen "empowers young people to become engaged and effective citizens" by promoting "political engagement." Visit https://generationcitizen.org/ to learn more about their organization and to access resources.
How to Vote in Six Easy Steps: The Community for Accredited Online Schools has put together an article called "Navigating The Election Process for Students & First Time Voters" that easily explains what you have to do to go from unregistered voter to casting your ballot: https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/students-and-first-time-voters/.
League of Women Voters: The LWV helps people register to vote, find polling places, and learn about ballot issues: https://www.lwv.org/.
Think the Vote: Think the Vote is a "website run by the Bill of Rights Institute" with the goal of connecting students and young people "with resources to think critically about the things going on" around them. Visit their website, http://www.thinkthevote.com/, for more information on how you can access their resources to better "engage in healthy civil discourse with fellow citizens."
Vote411: Get customized information about what is on your local ballot, where your local polling sites are, and what debates are coming up in your community, all through Vote411's online resources. Visit their website today: https://www.vote411.org/.
Vote Save America: According to its website, votesaveamerica.com, Vote Save America is a step-by-step guide to help make sure you, your friends, and your family have all the information needed to vote in the current election. You'll find answers to questions about whether or not you are registered to vote, if you can register to vote, who is on your ballot, where do you go to vote, and how can you help make sure your friends and family vote.
College- and district-level advocacy
Moorpark College Shared Governance Committees
Moorpark College has monthly committee meetings to discuss different aspects of the institution. These committees include faculty, staff, and members of the college administration. Sample participatory governance committees include:
- Curriculum Committee
- Academic Senate
- Student Equity and Achievement
- Facilities/Technology Committee on Accreditation and Planning
- Fiscal Planning Committee
- Campus Environment Committee
- Student Services Council
- Multicultural Day Committee
- Safety and Wellness Committee
VCCCD Board of Trustees
Moorpark College is part of the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD). Oxnard College and Ventura College are the other two colleges in the VCCCD.
The VCCCD is governed by the Board of Trustees, which include five locally elected members, as well as a student trustee who represents all the students in the VCCCD. Monthly Board of Trustees meetings are usually held on the first Tuesday of the month at the District Office (761 E. Daily Drive in Camarillo, CA).
The Associated Students Director of Student Advocacy attends the Board of Trustees meeting each month. For more information about the Ventura County Community College District and the Board of Trustees meetings go to http://www.vcccd.edu/ or click on the Ventura County Community College District link at the bottom of the Moorpark College webpage.
There are 115 community colleges in California serving over 2.1 million students. The California Community College Student Affairs Association and Student Senate for California Community Colleges are the two organizations which exist specifically to serve community college students.
California Community College Student Affairs Association
The California Community College Student Affairs Association (CCCSAA) has facilitated networking and leadership opportunities for California community college students, staff, and administrators involved with student affairs and leadership for over 60 years. Every fall CCCSAA holds a student leadership conference for approximately 500 student leaders and advisors from California Community Colleges’ student governments. CCCSAA also awards scholarships to student each year. The Associated Students of Moorpark College (ASMC) Board of Directors attends the annual CCCSAA conference to learn ways to effectively serve Moorpark College students. For more information about CCCSAA, its mission, and for scholarship opportunities, visit http://www.cccsaa.org.
Student Senate for California Community Colleges
The Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) is an organization that strives to assist California community college students by making the collegiate experience as beneficial as possible. The SSCCC as it operates today was established in 2006, but it was formerly known as the California Student Association of Community Colleges (CalSACC). Today, the SSCCC holds a General Assembly every semester where student representatives from each of the California community colleges discuss and vote on resolutions which will affect their peers.
The SSCCC is divided into ten (10) Regions based on geographic location, which were initially established as part of CalSACC. Each Region meets monthly throughout the year to discuss how to better meet the needs of the students in each Region. Two (2) Regional senators are elected at the spring General Assembly. These senators represent their Region at monthly SSCCC meetings in Sacramento. In addition to the two (2) regional senators from each Region, there are also ten (10) senators at large, totaling the 30 members of the SSCCC.
Moorpark College, Oxnard College, and Ventura College are all part of Region VI, along with these other schools:
- Allan Hancock College
- Antelope Valley
- College of the Canyons
- Cuesta College
- Santa Barbara City College
- Taft College
For more information about the SSCCC and its mission, visit http://www.studentsenateccc.org.
The ASMC Board of Directors has the option to travel to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of Moorpark College students on national issues that affect them. In the past, ASMC has advocated for the extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; an increase in Cal Grant awards for community college students; and the reauthorizing of the Higher Education Act; among other topics.