ASO passes two initiatives to help homeless and undocumented students

Many students have to deal with homework and quizzes. Some also have to face new federal immigration laws or worry about getting enough food to eat.

To help overcome these issues, leaders on campus are taking action to benefit the community.

ASO President Efren Lopez signed two resolutions “Brahma Initiative” and “Dreamers Coalition” to dedicate efforts to eradicate student homelessness, food insecurity, and support DACA students at Pierce College.

According to Lopez, LACCD conducted research earlier this year about food and housing insecurities that students in the district may face. The research reported that one in five students in LACCD were suffering from food and housing insecurity.

“I was a little bit surprised,” Lopez said.  “I experience this myself, but not in the degree that they might experience it every day.”

Lopez empathizes with the students and hopes to change the environment on campus to aid any student.

“Just imagining that these students go the entire day without eating, or when they go home, they don’t have a proper place to relax and to study when they go back,” Lopez said. “Thinking about what these students go through at Pierce is very alerting.”    

Upon receiving the information, ASO members collectively felt the need to find solutions to these issues.  

ASO senator and author of the Brahma Initiative Gisela Tarifa began to put a plan into action. She said the first step is making the issue known on campus.

“One of the steps in the Brahma Initiative is starting an awareness campaign, so at least talking about it, and being out on the Mall, for example, has been a way to physically and actively help people,” Tarifa said.

The Dreamers Coalition began as a stand against the Trump administration rescinding DACA.

ASO senator Allen Lopez said he and his colleagues want those who were affected to know that they have support.

“The resolution is where ASO stands in this issue,” Lopez said.  “It is to support dreamers, undocumented students overall and to help provide information and resources for them and the community.”

In addition to raising awareness and organizing its members for events and outreach, the ASO has a goal to secure funding for a new center for the campus.  

Lopez said the focus of the center would be to integrate the needs of students to be make it more accessible to them. He thinks their current facility does not sustain what they can provide.

“If you look at the ASO right now, the student union, we just have this office and two closets,” Lopez said. “It’s finding space for all of our initiatives, such as finding space for the food pantry and the resource center. It’s difficult, it’s limiting us.”

If students want to find out more information on to get involved with either initiative they can visit the ASO Building located under the Library / Learning Crossroads.