Trinidad State student, Danielle Armstrong, to present at national convention in Wash. D.C.
Valley Campus / March 7, 2016 / Written by Margaret Sanderson
On March 12-15 four hundred of the country’s 12-million community college students will attend the National Student Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. Only four of those students serve on the national committee - one from Utah, two from Wisconsin and Danielle Armstrong from the Trinidad State Valley Campus in Alamosa, Colorado. She proudly serves as the National Vice President of Leadership for that organization as well as the Vice Chair for the Colorado State Student Advisory Council (SSAC). For the remainder of this term Armstrong will serve as the Chair due to a resignation in December.
During the State Student Advisory Council meetings in Denver, Armstrong is updated on activities at all 13 Colorado community colleges. She then relays pertinent information to the state legislators. She said students can access this information when they check in to the college computer system. “It makes me proud that our community college system makes sure that students’ voices are heard,” said Armstrong. “Serving in these capacities has opened up my world to a whole new view,” she continued. “I’ve really stopped and thought about what I want to do. My ultimate goal is to go to Adams and pursue my Bachelor’s in education and move on to get my masters in counseling from there.”
Armstrong also serves as President for the Student Government Association (SGA) on the Trinidad State Valley Campus where she assists with the organizing of student government events. Her work study position in the Student Life office requires her to organize fun events such as Casino Night and Family Bowling Night.
Armstrong will travel to Washington D.C. with a student from Pikes Peak Community College and two from Red Rocks Community College. Lisa Fowler, Vice President of Student Success at Red Rocks Community College, will again accompany the Colorado students as their advisor. Armstrong helped coordinate the national conference this year, after attending for the first time last year. This time around the committee established times to visit with senators and representatives on Capitol Hill rather than simply popping in hoping to catch them. Ralph Nader, a well-known political activist, will be the keynote speaker again.
At the conference Armstrong will talk about advocating for students on a state level. She explained that many students don’t realize there is a hierarchy in the state community college system in which administrators for each of the colleges answer to others at the state level. The second topic she will present concerns the need for the senate and the house to come together and reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) which determines how congress allocates funding for higher education. The HEA has been up for renewal since 2013. Congress has delayed action for two years by extending the current law.
Armstrong would like to see more students become involved in the political process. “I really didn’t have much to do with the elections last time,” said Armstrong. “This go around I find myself researching and digging deeper and looking at the different proposals to see if it’s actually plausible on the economic side. Sometimes the best ideas don’t make the best candidate. That has opened up my eyes big time.”
Inspired by her experience at the national convention last year, Armstrong added a political science major to her educational goals. She will graduate in May with degrees in political science, addiction counseling and psychology. About her busy schedule and three young children at home, ages 7,4, and two, Armstrong said, “I couldn’t be doing all of this without all the support from my family.”
“I’m very happy I did this. I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said. “I have been opened up to so many new opportunities and I have a greater appreciation for community colleges. That’s for sure!”