SPPF gives 8 Central Arizona College students opportunity to play political field in D.C.

February 23, 2009

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – A contingent of Central Arizona College students used a four-day Washington, D.C., excursion to influence the political process on behalf of community colleges across America.

The eight students participated in the Student Public Policy Forum program - known simply as SPPF - in the nation’s capital Feb. 8-11.

The contingent of students included Terry Boyle and Drew Jones from the Signal Peak Campus, Yvette Boulier and Christina Paredez from the Aravaipa Campus, and Sheri Walker and Kelly Lintecum of the Superstition Mountain Campus in Apache Junction.

Samajia Perez (Aravaipa Campus) and Gina Braybrooks (Signal Peak Campus), who attend SPPF in 2008, served as mentors.

The students were joined on the trip by Dennis Jenkins, the president/CEO of Central Arizona College, Gloria Ann Guzman and Gladys Christensen, two members of the Pinal County Community College District Governing Board, and Dr. Doris Helmich, the vice president for student services.  

SPPF is a co-curricular activity that provides an overview of local, state and national public policy making, citizen influence and involvement.

A focus is placed on experiential learning, leadership development, and student engagement in public policy processes. During the course of the program, students research and prepare to speak on higher education issues specifically related to community colleges.

Chris Braybrooks, CAC’s student leadership coordinator who also went to Washington, D.C., was instrumental in organizing the trip.

“The students lobbied at the federal level on community college issues affecting CAC and its students,” Braybrooks said. “They had an opportunity to visit several representatives’ offices.”

The students immersed themselves in history by visiting the Holocaust Museum, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln and Vietnam memorials, while they also saw the White House and toured the Pentagon.

According to Braybrooks, students participating in the SPPF program have made an impact in policies and decisions over the years.

“Specific changes to legislation have, in fact, been directly attributed to SPPF visits,” he said.

Jones, the executive coordinator of the Student Leadership Group on the Signal Peak Campus, felt the trip to Washington, D.C., had a profound impact.

"We are stronger and better people for the trip," he said.

Lintecum, who represented the Superstition Mountain Campus, felt it was an important program for the students.

“We developed leadership and public speaking skills, and we built memories to last a lifetime.”

Braybrooks encourages students to take part in SPPF and be active on the political stage. Applications for the 2010 SPPF conference may be picked up in the student leadership coordinator’s office located on the ground floor of the Mel A. Everingham Student Center (Building I) beginning in September.

“Be prepared because there is a lengthy application, interview and selection process,” Braybrooks stated. “This is followed by the actual program, which begins in October and lasts until the trip in February.”

Students applying to SPPF must meet or complete the following requirements:

  • Achieve a 2.5 GPA
  • Complete an interview with the committee
  • Have 12 hours of credits completed (prior the application process)
  • Complete the SPFF application process including two letters of recommendation
  • Be in good standing regarding the Code of Conduct, policy 589

For more information on the SPPF program, please contact Braybrooks by phone at 520-494-5994 or by email at christopher.braybrooks@centralaz.edu.

(Mike Mollica, student intern in the CAC marketing department, was the lead writer for this article.)


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