(Santa Ana, CA) - Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) has appointed 21-year-old Orange resident Gregory P. Pierot as the student representative on its Board of Trustees for 2017-2018.
Pierot, a third-year computer science major at Santiago Canyon College (SCC), is currently preparing for university transfer as well as finishing coursework for his associate of science degree. In fall 2018, he hopes to transfer to either UCI, UCLA, UC Davis, or Chapman University. He has set his sights on becoming a software engineer to develop cybersecurity apps for large corporations.
He feels fortunate that he is able to go to college while remaining debt-free. He attends community college on a Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver enabling him to enroll for classes free of charge. While attending SCC full-time, he works 25-30 hours a week at Costco as a front end associate. He is grateful that he is still able to live at home allowing him to cut expenses.
“My major expenses are gas, car insurance, and textbooks,” he says. “It is shocking how much textbooks cost. As such, I am a huge supporter of OER (open educational resources) and will focus some of my efforts as student trustee on encouraging the college district to utilize more of these resources to help maximize students’ access to free and reasonably priced course materials and textbooks.”
Just shortly after Pierot started attending SCC, he ran into a friend from El Modena High School, Kevin Pham. Pham was highly involved in the Associated Student Government (ASG) and encouraged Pierot to participate as well. That led to Pierot attending one of the ASG meetings and getting interviewed for a role. In fall 2015, Pierot assumed the Senator of Technology position. It was a perfect fit for him as he likes technology. He focused on how the college invests in computers and encouraged better access to Wi-Fi on campus. It was gratifying to him when the college added a number of routers that increased the Wi-Fi access for students. He also learned that he has a passion for parliamentary procedure.
“I saw that ASG was really effective and that those who participate could have their voices heard,” he says.
At the end of the year, he was encouraged to run for ASG Chief Justice, a position that he won and served in last year. In that role, he learned that he really liked guiding his peers. He described participating in a two-day workshop last fall called ASG 101.
“At the end of the workshop, I facilitated a leadership exercise for my fellow ASG members. I was really surprised how much respect my peers showed me. It made me proud that they had learned something from me. At that moment, I felt that I mattered and gained greater confidence in myself,” he recalls.
When the search for a student trustee for 2017-2018 was announced, he thought, “Why not? I was really invested in college leadership.”
Now, he is looking forward to his role as RSCCD student trustee. “Now, my voice is exponentially raised. I get to speak on behalf of students at both Santiago Canyon College and Santa Ana College (SAC),” he says. “I have the opportunity to help increase student success.”
Knowing that he has only 12 months to make a difference, he is working to narrow his focus to a few key goals. Based on his own challenge with being able to purchase textbooks, one of these goals will definitely be to increase the use of OER. Additionally at a time when community college budgets are being challenged, primarily due to the increases in employee contributions to STRS and CalPERS, he wants to work to secure funding for the colleges’ signature programs. He would also like to work on being able to provide bus passes districtwide. Although he knows that budgets may be an obstacle, he would like to work to increase library hours as he sees the need.
“I like being the new guy,” he says. “When you get too comfortable, that’s not good and I always have something to learn.” He knows that being a student trustee will afford him those opportunities.
Pierot lives in Orange with his father Gary, who works as an analyst for Carl’s Jr., and his mother Jennifer, who recently starting working at Chapman University, and his two older sisters, Lauren, who is an SCC alumna, and Paige, who graduated from UCI.
The RSCCD student trustee is recognized as a full member at Board of Trustees meetings and can participate in discussion of issues with the privilege of an advisory vote.
About Rancho Santiago Community College District
Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin.. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.
# # #