By Paulette Parker
WCC trustees Dave DeVarti, Christina Fleming, Diana McKnight-Morton and Director of Government Relations Jason Morgan recently attended the 2015 Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.
Over the course of the four-day summit, attendees participated in sessions, met with lawmakers, community college trustees and presidents and had the opportunity to lobby about issues that concern them.
Speakers included the Secretaries of Labor and Education.
“As a new trustee, being able to meet other trustees was very valuable,” DeVarti said.
The Summit focused on legislation that is either in process or legislation that could be improved upon. The agenda was set by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).
Topics of discussion included improving methods of measuring the success rates of community colleges, President Obama’s free community college announcement and making the Pell grant program available year-round.
“That one kind of stood out to me because it involves really giving students’ access quickly when they need it,” Fleming said.
“I learned what bigger issues are out there,” DeVarti said of his takeaway from the Summit, which will better equip him for his role as a trustee and give him new perspective to bring to board meetings.
“My takeaway, I think, was how important it is to keep these issues in front of our lawmakers,” Fleming said. She also stressed the importance of constituents writing to their representatives in Congress about issues that matter to them.
“We really need to make our voices heard; otherwise they’re just going to sit there and do whatever is on their national agenda and not really pay attention to us,” Fleming said.