By Steve Dixon,
President of the California State Student Association
Hello everyone. My name is Steve Dixon, and I’m the president of the California State Student Association or CSSA. We are the official voice of the CSU student to the Chancellor’s Office and to the State Legislature. We represent over 450,000 student of the California State University on a wide variety of issues from shared governance to legislative priorities. It is the mission of the California State Student Association to advocate for quality, access and affordability for CSU students.
This year, the major initiative of the CSSA is our “Made in the CSU” campaign. Basicly, it’s to show that we students of the CSU are not a cost to the state, but we are an investment. In fact, out of every dollar spent on a CSU student more than four dollars are returned to the state.
Our main goal in the “Made in the CSU” campaign is to educate California voters on the positive attributes of a California State University education–on the positive values that it creates for women, for minorities, for the underrepresented. How it creates opportunities for those that might not otherwise have them; and that to fully fund the Masterplan for Higher Education and the CSU is a positive sign for the state of California and its economy.
We have a website www.MadeInTheCSU.com that explains all of these issues.
The “March in March“–which will be held March 22, sponsored by the CSSA in conjunction with the Student Senate of the California Community Colleges–is to educate the legislature that we need a fully funded budget. The Governor has offered a good budget for us, this year; and we want to encourage the legislature to vote for the Governor’s budget and restore full funding to the CSU.
As a CSU student, I take this very personally. I have, in fact, been made in the CSU. I would never have had a chance for an education in any other state. I come from a very poor family, from a very small town. And I would have never had the opportunity to go to college.
My father was a very intelligent man who couldn’t go to college because there was no money and the state had not yet made the investment to the Masterplan for Higher Education. But now that exists and he can send his son to school.
I will be the first member of my family to graduate from college and that means something to us. And so I’m “Made in the CSU,” the CSU has given me the skills to better my life, to better the lot for my family, to help me make my community and state a better place.
My mother was a 20 year member of a school board and a member of the State Board of Education for a number of years. So education runs in my family as an important facet of our lives. My brother had difficulties, and this is how we got involved. My brother had reached nearly high school and couldn’t read. And my mother wanted to figure out: Why? Why this was happening? And she became an advocate and started becoming an advocate for the underdog.
And so it kind of became something for me as well, I’m following in my own families footsteps. That I’m out there fighting for the average everyday student, because I know almost every single CSU student has a story similar to mine: of adversity and overcoming it.
I would like to urge all students in the CSU to be in Sacramento on March 22. Because this cannot be done by one or two of us, it has to be done by all of us. And so I hope we’ll all be there and show the legislature that we actually care as well.
The CSSA thanks you very much.