Rio Students UNITE

While attending Rio Hondo College, Dylan worked 50 hours a week as an air conditioning technician and took classes in the evening.  During this time, he noticed evening students had less access to some and no access to other school resources compared to students who attended classes during the day.  He spoke in front of the Board of Trustees for the first time in May of 2017, and when his requests to address these inequities were overlooked, he knew it was time to take a stand. 

Dylan spent his final year at Rio Hondo College committed to enriching students’ lives by working to remove barriers and by giving students equitable access to school resources.  Dylan gathered a group of concerned students, like himself, and started Rio Students UNITE, a student-run advocacy club, committed to ensuring student access to all school resources.  Dylan and his club worked to add safety measures in parking lots, extend library hours, provide access to food options in the evening, and change the date of commencement in order to eliminate conflict with final exams.  Dylan worked closely with the Faculty Union, Academic Senate, Associated Students, Deans, and Vice Presidents to create these changes. 

Dylan and his club were able to work toward these goals by getting students involved and by obtaining thousands of signatures on petitions that showed students wanted to change in their school.  When they had gathered enough signatures, Dylan brought the issues forward to the Associated Students (elected student leaders) and presented a resolution to gain their support.  Once Dylan had garnered their support, he brought resolutions forward to the Academic Senate and Faculty Union, both of which passed resolutions, and created investigative committees to look deeper into how these changes would be implemented.  The committees then tasked his club to conduct surveys to see exactly what students wanted.  Throughout the process, Dylan worked closely with top members of the Faculty Union and Academic Senate.  His club conducted surveys that received over 3000 signatures in total. 

By the end of the school year, Rio Students UNITE was able to get a commitment from the Superintendent-President to open faculty lots in the evening to give students access to parking that is closer to campus, is more highly patrolled by security, and has better lighting, all in an effort to help keep students safe.  Dylan’s club was able to get the Rio Cafe to stay open until 9 pm instead of closing at 7 pm which it had done during the prior year.  They worked with student leadership to have the student body host an event twice a month for evening students, providing them with food, coffee, and testing supplies.  The club is still working closely with administration and faculty to get library hours extended and to change the date of the commencement ceremony so that it does not directly conflict with finals.

One of our fundraisers for Rio Students UNITE with coverage provided by El Paisano newspaper. This newspaper has won countless awards and is another reason why Rio Hondo College is an amazing school.