Program started in 2018 was on hold during the pandemic.

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Ventura County community college student government officers are driven by wanting to make a positive impact on their campuses and beyond. To provide these student leaders with the tools they need to advocate for their peers and build their leadership skills, the Ventura County Community College District on Oct. 26 held its first in-person Student Leadership Academy since 2020.

VCCCD created the academy four years ago as a year-long professional and personal development program to support emerging student leaders from Moorpark College, Oxnard College, Ventura College and the VCCCD student trustee. It was on hold during the pandemic.

During the sessions, students broaden their perspective of leadership and learn from college, district and community mentors and VCCCD alumni. This helps students strengthen their leadership styles and understand how these skills can effect change beyond their campus communities. Participants also learn how the tools they’re acquiring can be translated into the workplace.

Chancellor Rick MacLennan kicked off the meeting of 30 associated student government officers districtwide at the District Administrative Center in Camarillo. He encouraged students to remember that they have an influence on each other and to remember why they chose to be student leaders.

“Trust is the basis of any leadership journey as you work with others,” he told the students. “Trust is being vulnerable to letting people see who you are, and as you work together, accepting who you are and who others are,” he explained.

Throughout the day, students discussed college priorities and opportunities on their campuses, shared best practices for understanding the student voice, learned strategies for aligning with their constituents and understood the importance of participatory governance and advocacy.

VCCCD board of trustees members, college presidents and district leadership joined the students at lunch to build rapport and share their own leadership journeys. Chair Dianne McKay, Vice Chair Stan Mantooth and Trustee Bernardo M. Perez expressed appreciation to students for their engagement and advocacy, reminding students they are the reason why the trustees serve and make policy to ensure student success.

“I enjoyed talking with the student leaders from our campuses,” said McKay. “I saw firsthand their commitment to being involved, using their voices for important student issues and building student engagement on their campuses.”

Following the meeting, students were invigorated, mentioning their excitement about advocating for their fellow students and making lasting changes — small and large — on their campuses. “I loved this [meeting],” enthused one participant.