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Student leaders advocate for higher education funding in Washington D.C.


Edmonds Community College student government leaders took their concerns about federal funding for higher education straight to legislators in Washington, D.C.

Six Edmonds CC student leaders met with Washington state senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen during a trip to the capitol for the American Student Association of Community College’s national Student Advocacy Conference in March. 

student government leaders

(from left to right) Mustapha Samateh, Verena Girgis, Maria French, Washington State representative Rick Larsen, Mina Otgonbold, Qasim Anjum, and Nomin Tumennast

“We believe investment in education should be a priority in the nation’s agenda,” said Mustapha Samateh, Edmonds CC’s administrative liaison officer. “It gave us tremendous pride and honor to talk with our legislators as we represented ourselves and the voices of our fellow students.

“We presented stories and facts from our college on how students need support in completing their educational dreams.”

Other Edmonds CC attendees included: Qasim Anjum, community relations officer; Maria French, academics officer; Verena Girgis, clubs officer; Mina Otgonbold, technology officer; and Nomin Tumennast, budget and finance officer.

They were among more than 300 student leaders from across the country. During the four-day conference, the participants discussed critical issues – Pell Grant funding, DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act –  impacting community college students.

Edmonds CC’s leaders advocated on behalf of their fellow community college students for sustaining and increasing Pell Grant funding, and making it available year-round, Samateh said.

“With the current battle over the budget, spending and modifications to student financial aid programs, the timing for our visit could not have been better,” he said.

During his keynote address, political activist Ralph Nader spoke about the importance of student leaders having a presence in Washington, D.C. so they are not among the “forgotten.”

“He encouraged us to continue to be involved in the political process and in working and volunteering to make our country better,” Samateh said.

The students also heard from Stephanie Vance, former chief of staff and legislative director, and Mindy Sopher, a North Carolina State University professor.

Learn more about Edmonds CC’s student government.

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Laura Daniali