(Santa Ana, CA) - Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) has appointed 20-year-old Irvine resident Alana V. Voechting to serve as the student representative on its Board of Trustees. For the first time this year, all student trustee applicants were placed on the Associated Student Government (ASG) election ballots at Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon Colleges. The student trustee candidate receiving the plurality of the combined votes at both colleges is elected as student trustee.
Voechting, a third-year political science major at Santiago Canyon College is currently working on finishing coursework for her associate degree. She plans on transferring to University of California, Irvine; University of California, Santa Cruz or University of California, Santa Barbara to complete her bachelor’s degree in political science. Her long-term objective is completing a doctorate in political theory. Her career goals include running for office with her sights set on holding a state office. She can see herself teaching at a university level when she is older.
“I am passionate about politics,” says Voechting. “I have seen the power of one voice and see the progress at the state level.”
In high school, she was very involved in theater and thought her future would be as a playwright or as a stage director. When she got to college, she changed her focus to getting a four-year degree instead of pursuing a career in show business. For the first time, she recognized that higher education held the key to her future. “Community college, and specifically Santiago Canyon College (SCC), is the best thing that ever happened to me,” she says.
At SCC, she committed herself to two goals—to get an education and to serve people. She joined the Inter-Club Council and helped co-found the Current Issues Forum, the SCC political science club. Voechting has served as the club’s secretary, vice president and president. Then she joined the ASG as a commissioner and as the Senator for Student Success. In this last role, she attended many committee meetings and got a close look at the data on student success and completion, something she feels very passionate about.
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. Voechting is enthusiastic about sharing the student voice with her fellow trustees. She wants to ensure that students have access to critical programs that are necessary for their success.
She recognizes that by working together students can affect significant changes. For example, with support from the ASGs at both Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon Colleges, the RSCCD Board of Trustees recently approved raising the student activity fee from five to ten dollars. The fee is optional and helps support the ASGs and student life on each campus.
One month into her tenure as student trustee, Voechting is exploring how best to serve her fellow students. To stay informed, she plans on taking classes at both colleges. Critical matters she will focus on include: smoking and e-cigarettes, student mental health, access to library and Internet resources, adequate access to college counselors, LGBTQ issues, and sustainability.
“I’m looking forward to connecting with both campuses, doing what I love, and representing people who need a voice,” she says.
In addition to her studies, Voechting has appreciated her time as an employee for In-N-Out Burger in Lake Forest. They have granted her a leave of absence to allow her to assume the student trustee role. She also interns for the Orange County Employees Association and serves as a nanny.
“The college, my Mom, In-N-Out, and Orange County Employees Association have all helped me by holding my hand,” she says. “Now it’s time for me to help other people and hold their hands.”
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, Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.
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