New student trustees seated on college district Governing Board

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SPECIAL TO THE EAST COUNTY CALIFORNIAN

A Marine Corps veteran and a recent high school graduate were officially seated Tuesday as the two new student trustees on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board.

The student trustees, who are elected by their peers as non-voting board members, are Grossmont College student Rafael Navarrete, 29, and Cuyamaca College student Evan Esparza, 18.

SPECIAL TO THE EAST COUNTY CALIFORNIAN

A Marine Corps veteran and a recent high school graduate were officially seated Tuesday as the two new student trustees on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board.

The student trustees, who are elected by their peers as non-voting board members, are Grossmont College student Rafael Navarrete, 29, and Cuyamaca College student Evan Esparza, 18.

Navarrete and Esparza took their oaths of office for the one-year term at Tuesday night’s board meeting at Grossmont College. They join the board at a time of rebuilding as the colleges continue to add classes, staffing and other resources lost to the budget ax in recent years.

“The role of student trustees to be the student voice on the board is very important,” Governing Board President Bill Garrett said. “The Governing Board values the input that the student representatives provide as we consider new policies and initiatives to guide the direction of the college district.” 

Navarrete, who began attending Grossmont College three months after he was honorably discharged from the Marines, was eager to be a student leader as soon as he arrived in fall 2013. He immediately became active in student government, joining the Associated Students of Grossmont College. By the following spring, the political science major was elected student body president. 

A freshman at Cuyamaca College, Evan Esparza is among the youngest to have been elected as student trustee, a fact he regards with a shrug.

Accessible classes and affordable textbooks are two issues students are most concerned about, Esparza said, so he plans to monitor those issues closely. 

“One thing I want to actively pursue is to engage students more in what’s going on with the college and district,” he said. “It would be great if more students got involved with student government.”

Esparza’s brother graduated from Cuyamaca College and his sister is a nursing major at Grossmont College, so Cuyamaca College was a natural pick for him. The political science major has his eyes set on a legal career, practicing international or civil law. Like his Grossmont College counterpart, he is interested in getting involved in politics.

The political arena, he points out, is where the decisions are made that most impact people’s lives. 

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