Meet Bryan Rodriguez, Your Student Trustee

Image+provided+by+Bryan+Rodriguez

Image provided by Bryan Rodriguez

By Shahbano Raza

Bryan Rodriguez is the 2021-2022 student trustee for the Ventura County Community College District.

Rodriguez was elected through a district-wide student election in September 2021 and was installed on Oct. 12, 2021, by the VCCCD Board of Trustees.

Part of the success of Rodriguez’s campaign can be attributed to his background in politics and government. Over the past few years, Rodriguez has held a variety of leadership positions in Ventura County and participated in local government.

Rodriguez has interned for Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and recently interned with the California Latinx Capitol Foundation Association.

Image provided by Bryan Rodriguez
Bryan Rodriguez on Oct. 12, 2021.
Image provided by Bryan Rodriguez

In an announcement released on the MyVCCCD portal, VCCCD Chancellor Greg Gillespie emphasized how Rodriguez’s involvement in local politics and experience with the board made him an ideal candidate.

“Having attended previous board meetings and establishing relationships with members, Bryan is knowledgeable about the responsibility of being a student trustee,” said Gillespie. “The board and I look forward to his input and collaborating with him.”

As addressed in Rodriguez’s candidate platform in 2021, Rodriguez attended the VCCCD Community College League of California Student Trustees Workshop and Student Senate For Community Colleges Student Trustee Retreat.

“I am the only candidate who attended these conferences and have the experience and connections needed to succeed in this position,” Rodriguez said. “I have also attended Board of Trustee meetings and followed the discussions of the board functions.”

Rodriguez’s plan for the 2021-2022 term centers around three initiatives: justice, equity, diversity and inclusion; student retention and engagement initiatives; and accountability.

“I hope to accomplish as much as I laid out during the campaign, along with representing students and the VCCCD community to the best of my abilities,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has been actively involved with his new position. In the month of October, Rodriguez attended several governance meetings and introduced himself to varying constitutional groups. He met with individuals such as Gillespie, Oxnard Union Trustee Elizabeth M. Botello and Moorpark College President Julius Sokenu.

Image provided by Bryan Rodriguez
Bryan Rodriguez stands alongside Moorpark College President Julius Sokenu on Oct. 12, 2021.
Image provided by Bryan Rodriguez

Rodriguez has also attended some of the Associated Students of Moorpark College board meetings. ASMC Director of Academic Affairs Chris Ojeda had positive things to say about Rodriguez’s leadership and character.

“(Rodriguez) has made his contact information apparent and attended some ASMC meetings,” said Ojeda. “He seems eager to get students’ input and hear what they have to say.”

“I would like to say that all my encounters with Bryan have been great, ” Ojeda added. “He is very friendly and approachable.”

Rodriguez recapped on Instagram his efforts to further his initiatives in the month of November. Rodriguez’s primary focus was building on the undertakings of the VCCCD Basic Needs Offices which seek to assist students in attaining basic needs such as food, transportation and housing.

“I finished touring the Basic Needs Offices at Moorpark, Oxnard, Ventura and Ventura East Campuses,” Rodriguez said. “I look forward to creating a policy to guide our Basic Needs Offices moving forward.

Alongside implementing a Basic Needs policy, Rodriguez hopes to further student participation in the upcoming semester.

“Another thing I am really kind of pushing for is bolstering students’ participation in the participatory government offices,” Rodriguez said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and the vaccine mandate being put in place for the spring semester, augmenting student participation seems to be a difficult task. Rodriguez hopes that students will accept the vaccine mandate.

“I would encourage all students to get vaccinated for spring semester,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is Chicano and a first-generation college student, both of which are strong influences in his life. Rodriguez’s mother is a farmworker, and his father is a construction worker. Rodriguez mentioned that neither had the opportunity to pursue education past primary school.

“Being a first-generation college student has made me value the power of education and the opportunity it opens,” Rodriguez said. “I see education as a privilege that should be taken advantage of.”

One of Rodriguez’s inspirations is Cesar Chavez, a labor leader and American civil rights activist in the early 20th century. In the sixth grade, Rodriguez even placed second in a speech-writing competition in which he honored Chavez.

“The labor leader Cesar Chavez has always inspired me to continue my education,” said Rodriguez. “His resilience and can-do attitude have always inspired me to continue and do whatever I can to help my community.”

 

Alongside being a student trustee, Rodriguez is currently president of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx De Aztlán and vice president of the Political Science Club at Ventura College. Rodriguez is also a member of the Student Trustee Caucus for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.

With his impressive list of extracurricular activities and leadership positions, it is difficult to imagine Rodriguez with free time on his hands, but Rodriguez does have hobbies and interests outside of student government and advocacy.

“During my free time, I enjoy watching different series on Netflix and Hulu,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez also enjoys reading in his spare time, and he hopes to do so during the winter break.

“I am really looking forward to finishing this really lengthy book,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a memoir: The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power.”

Rodriguez can be contacted through email with policy questions. Follow him on Instagram for more updates on his journey as the new VCCCD Student Trustee.