Over 1,300 Central Oregon Community College and Oregon State University-Cascades students participated in a survey to discuss what issues they would like to see pushed at a state level.
The surveys, which held issues deemed most important by the Oregon Student Association and the Oregon Community College Student Association, was circulated via class visits throughout October.
Kurt Killinger, director of legislative affairs with the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College, spearheaded the survey at COCC and OSU-Cascades.
“We’ve penetrated much deeper into the campus than I expected,” Killinger said. “It was very refreshing…[to see] how cooperative all the students were in giving their opinions. It was very rewarding.”
OSA runs a survey like this one every other year when state congress is in its short session. The issues students survey favorably will be the ones OSA and OCCSA pursue most strongly in lobbying next year during the long session.
Killinger and COCC student Ariel Jasper, along with help from staff members of OSA, have been running the campaign since classes began, visiting an average of five classes every day, according to Jasper.
Jasper worked with OSA in the record Vote OR Vote campaign last year that registered 1857 students at COCC to vote. She wasn’t surprised at the response.
“I expected us to crush our goals,” Jasper said.
Jasper is currently a board member on OCCSA and OCCSA’s liason to OSA. She believes COCC’s student voice will be growing this year.
“COCC is very open and students are starting to recognize that they do have a voice,” Jasper said. “We can’t have a base of student activism if we don’t have a base of students.”
As the survey numbers have now surpassed the goal, Killinger is transferring their remaining scheduled visits into a vote campaign like last year’s Vote OR Vote.
“We’ll be running a soft campaign,” Killinger said. “It won’t be nearly as intense. I’m still a student, I’m still a single dad.”
Part of the reason Killinger is changing the purpose of the remaining class visits is so that his team doesn’t have to burden instructors with multiple class visits.
“I want to thank all faculty for all the time in class as it is critically important for student voice to be heard, especially since these issues directly impact our students,” Killinger said.