New student trustees to be sworn in at June 20 Board of Trustees meeting

June 17, 2024 | San Diego Community College District

The San Diego Community College District has appointed four new student trustees for the upcoming academic year. Dalia Ramirez (San Diego City College), Zora Williams (San Diego Mesa College), Hailey Hua (San Diego Miramar College), and Haydee Zuniga (San Diego College of Continuing Education), will be sworn in during the June 20 SDCCD Board of Trustees meeting.

The four student trustees

Front row (L to R) Haydee Zuniga and Hailey Hua; back row (L to R) Zora Williams and Dalia Ramirez. 

 The SDCCD is governed by a five-member elected Board of Trustees. Student representatives from each of the colleges serve a one-year term as student trustees. The sitting student trustee at each meting gets an advisory vote alongside the elected board members. Student trustees also serve as their college’s student government president, are appointed to various district and college committees, and are committed to serving and advocating for student interests by promoting diversity, community, and academic success. For the past two academic years, student trustees have participated in state and federal advocacy meetings that included annual trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Ahead of officially being sworn in, the new student trustees shared their college journey and hopes of student reform.

City College: Dalia Ramirez

Dalia Ramirez’s upbringing fuels her passion for student leadership. She was raised in a home with undocumented family members and her late father was deported from the United States when she was only in elementary school. 

“Growing up my family and I were constantly surrounded by fear and uncertainty. We never had the same privileges as other Americans,” said Mexican American Ramirez, 20. Despite legal and financial barriers, she did well in school and held onto her dream of studying to become a lawyer. She started taking City College classes at age 15 through the dual enrollment program with San Diego High School, and she is majoring in both political science and journalism. “For me school has always been a fun place; I believe that knowledge is power,” she said.

Ramirez is the first in her family to go to college. “My parents were not allowed to get an education but they placed a huge priority on academics for my brother and me,” she said. Carrying on her family’s values, Ramirez is helping her peers succeed in the classroom with much needed resources. With the City College Associated Student Government (ASG) leaders, she is advocating for free printing, club funding, gas cards, and support with vision coverage for students in need of glasses. 

“Our campus is so amazing. I hope to represent the best of City College and our shared values of social justice and inclusion,” Ramirez said. Following City College, Ramirez plans to transfer to University of California, Irvine.

 Mesa College: Zora Williams

After studying online for a year at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Zora Williams enrolled at Mesa College to study mathematics and humanities. 

“My mom and my godparents work in higher education. Achieving my degree is a big thing for me but I wanted to be 100% sure of what I wanted to become,” said Williams, 21, whose goal is to transfer to Spelman College, a historically Black, women's liberal arts college in Atlanta. “Living in San Diego there is not a big Black community. I have often been the only Black person in academic settings. Spelman would provide an excellent education where race and ethnicity is not a barrier.”

Williams is bringing that mindset to Mesa College. She and the ASG leaders want to bring more cross-cultural events, mental health resources, an interclub council, an open gym policy, and more nutritional foods to the cafeteria on campus. 

“When people come to Mesa, I want them to feel welcome and like they belong here,” said Williams, who felt that same sense of camaraderie from Mesa College President Ashanti Hands. “Having Dr. Hands as our college president makes me feel comfortable being the student president. Seeing another Black woman carrying herself so proudly and with grace makes me look up to her and want to be like her — to be a voice for people who won't get to be heard or can't be heard.”

Miramar College: Hailey Hua

Political science major Hailey Hua, who is of Chinese descent, is hopeful to be a well-rounded representative for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community. She always had a clear goal to enroll at Miramar College and to transfer within the University of California (UC) system. Taking leadership as Miramar College’s ASG president and as the college’s student trustee is a big part of Hua’s future plans to go to law school. She said, “my peers are so ready to take action and that inspires me. We are already seeing changes working directly with Region X and Region 10.” 

With Miramar College’s ASG leaders, Hua, 18, is in the process of establishing the college’s first interclub council to ensure every student-led club has enough resources to be successful. Additionally, they are advocating for a basic needs student council and are continuing the momentum from the previous ASG group by voicing the need for zero cost textbooks and feminine hygiene products. In addition to her on campus leadership role, Hua is an intern for Congresswoman Sara Jacobs and Councilmember Marni von Wilpert. She advises her fellow students, “maximize your college experience, get involved, don’t just hope it will go by because it will go by fast and there are a lot of opportunities.”

The College of Continuing Education: Haydee Zuniga

Haydee Zuniga moved from Tijuana to San Diego in 2004. Up until she found the College of Continuing Education in the summer of 2022, she never had the opportunity to go to postsecondary school. “When I came to the U.S. my English language skills were really low,” said Zuniga, 38, who is studying English as a Second Language (ESL) and earning an administrative assistant certificate. “It took me 20 years to go to college. I didn’t know that a career technical college like this exists.”

Now as Associated Student Body president and student trustee, Zuniga is on a mission to inform every mother, immigrant, and student like her about the transformational tuition-free career training programs located at the College of Continuing Education. 

“When I help someone else to discover these opportunities to go to school it feels really good to know that they will have the same chance as me to keep moving up and forward,” she said. To do so, Zuniga said she will start with grassroots outreach to local businesses who can directly provide course information to their employees as professional development.

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