Conference for undocumented, marginalized youth funded by RHA

Jorge Espinoza

Marginalized, underrepresented and undocumented students will get an inclusive idea of what attending college is like as part of a youth leadership conference, after the Colorado State Residence Hall Association passed a bill to fund the event. 

The bill, sponsored by Beta Gamma Nu Fraternity, passed with a 17-6-0 Monday evening. The conference will have a variety of different workshops intended to allow prospective students to make connections while also providing a good understanding of how to navigate college, Matthew Mason, bill author and Beta Gamma Nu member, said. 

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The conference will bring students from the Mapleton Public School District in Denver, a district that many members of the Beta Gamma Nu Fraternity attended, as a way to give back to the community at large.

Quentin Heuvel, an RHA senator, said funding this conference is important as it allows prospective students to envision themselves in college when they may have never done so before.

“I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and I was always told that because of that I would never be able to focus enough to get into a good college,” Heuvel said. “Through a program called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), I got to go to conferences like these, and I was able to see myself in a college setting. Without that, I don’t know if I would be here.”

While the bill passed, it was met with opposition. Opponents of the bill claimed that since the bill does not directly affect current residents the bill should not be funded by RHA. Proponents of the bill, like Heuvel, said even though this specific bill does not directly impact current residents, impacting future residents is just as important.

“I know just how impactful those programs can be,” Heuvel said. “We may not be impacting current residents, but we are impacting future residents by making sure that we’re inspiring tomorrow’s students today.”

Kyra Ferguson, RHA President, said passing this bill could change the way that RHA thinks about bills, as it places emphasis on making more of an impact on campus culture.

“I think it has a lot of potential to change how RHA thinks about bills. It was a question of, ‘If this doesn’t directly impact residents, what impact does it have?’” Ferguson said. “I think that’s going to change how we think about bills, and I hope that it’s going to change the campus culture and what we want to see coming out of our future students.”

Overall, Heuvel said passing the bill accurately reflects RHA’s goals to serving the CSU community by encouraging space for all to achieve higher education.

“RHA is all about service to the CSU community,” Heuvel said. “I think that this really reflects that we are dedicated to creating a space where all are welcomed to learn and a space where we encourage education for all.”

Collegian reporter Jorge Espinoza can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @jorgespinoza14

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