Student Trustee Iris Cueto advocates for improved communicationsby Jan Janes on Nov 4, 2016
Ask Iris Cueto about students on the Gavilan College campus, and you'll hear a clear voice articulating the need for more resources and information.
"I became interested in advocating for AB 540 students on campus, standing up and being a voice for them," she said, "because they need a lot of help, and it should be on campus."
Cueto founded Supporting Academic Success for Immigrant Students (S.A.S.I.S.), one of 15 active clubs on campus. A self-described AB 540 student, she brings first-hand awareness to the challenges immigrant students face. "I want to support undocumented students, and this club helps them apply for financial aid, scholarships and legal help." The club promotes equality for all Gavilan students regardless of their legal status and is open to all students.
AB 540, signed into law by California Governor Gray Davis in 2001, allows undocumented students who meet specific requirements to pay in-state tuition at the state's higher education institutions.
Iris Cueto, founder of S.A.S.I.S. and student trustee
on the Gavilan College Board of Trustees, brings a
voice to student concerns.
A third-year student at Gavilan majoring in biological science, Cueto was acquainted with the previous Gavilan College Board student trustee and was encouraged to apply. She was concerned about the lack of clarity and communication with students. "When the board members make decisions, they don't always let students know," she said.
"I got 600 signatures from students, talked to them about the issues, explained my positions and what the responsibilities would be," Cueto said. Although her seat on the board is non-voting, she participates in meeting discussions and reports student concerns.
She recently returned from a student trustee leadership conference in Southern California. Students attended workshops to strengthen leadership skills and improve communications with other students and with the trustees. The conference offered opportunities for student leaders to meet, expand their statewide networks and share successes.
"Students can reach me to express their concerns to the board, advocate for change on campus and help with the process," said Cueto, noting that students coming together make positive changes on campus. The Gavilan College Board of Trustees meets the second Tuesday of each month.
Advocate, student trustee and leader, a full time employee and mom to a six-year-old, Cueto plans to transfer to UC Davis, major in biological sciences and work as a medical examiner. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The S.A.S.I.S. club meets every Thursday during college hour.