Campus community lobbies state leaders for increased funding

Chancellor, staff, and students with Senator Bill Monning
Back row, from left: Chancellor George Blumenthal, student veteran Francisco Muñoz, transfer student Lexi Baczynski, Assemblymember Mark Stone, Cultivamos Excelencia Counselor Erick Ramirez. Front row, from left: Lisa Overstreet, assistant director for California recruitment, and Sara Radoff, director of STARS.

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal, staff from Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS), and undergraduate students shared with state leaders the campus's success in recruiting and retaining transfer students, while underscoring the need for increased permanent funding to ensure a University of California education remains affordable and accessible.

The all-day lobbying trip to Sacramento on April 13 included meetings with California Senator Bill Monning, Assemblymember Mark Stone and senior advisors to Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins. In all, the campus delegation met with 15 different lawmakers or key staff members.

“It was a great opportunity to tell our story, to give legislators a glimpse at how we are changing the lives not only of our students but of their families and entire communities,” said Chancellor George Blumenthal. “It’s important that legislators see what impact their support for not only our campus, but for the University of California as a whole, has on the lives of Californians.”

The trip focused on celebrating California Community College students' increased access to UC Santa Cruz through the initiative to make transfer students a third of all California undergraduate enrollment, often called 2-1 for short. Students and staff urged legislators to provide increased permanent funding to the campus to support the retention and graduation of transfer students. Students highlighted their experiences as transfer students, a community that includes a large percentage of first generation, underrepresented, re-entry, student parents, veteran, and independent students.

Those on the trip included transfer students Lexi Baczynski and Jessica Parra Moya, student veteran Francisco Muñoz, re-entry student Heather Willoughby, Sara Radoff, director of Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS), Cultivamos Excelencia HSI Project Director Riana Howard and STARS program coordinator Jannet Ceja, and Erick Ramirez, Cultivamos Excelencia counselor.

The lobbying effort was organized by Government and Community Relations in University Relations. Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS) professional and student staff, Admissions, and Enrollment Management also participated in the effort.

“I was moved by the students stories, which highlighted not only their successes in gaining admission to UC Santa Cruz, but also the real challenges they face in higher education,” Radoff said. “The students illustrated how important it is for university leaders to move beyond a conversation of transfer access, and into a new dialogue about how we as a campus will support them toward graduation."