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Progressive Student Alliance petitions to support campus activities

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By Carla Villasana-Acosta

Photo by Erica Horoky
Arielle Brown, President of the Black Student Union, at Club Day on Tuesday.

Five student organizations at Grand Rapids Community College have come together as the Progressive Student Alliance to support students’ interests before the Board of Trustees.

The PSA consists of several GRCC Student Organizations, including the Black Student Union, College Democrats, StandOUT, GRCC Cares, and Women’s Issues Now and it works as a “supplemental voice for Student Congress,” according to Arielle Brown, deputy director of PSA and president of BSU.

The group is currently collecting signatures in order to present a petition to the Board of Trustees asking it to maintain the funding for campus activities such as the Diversity Lecture Series and the Actor’s Theatre, which has been challenged by GRCC Trustees in the past.

“(The Diversity Learning Center) provides us access to unity and change and progress,” Brown said. “We’re here to pursue our dreams and part of that is experiencing diversity”

The petition also supports the use of renewable energy on campus to preserve the environment and its resources.

The PSA was formed when the members submitted a letter to GRCC Trustee Richard Ryskamp asking for an apology after he suggested inviting a formerly gay speaker as part of the Diversity Lecture Series.

The group works towards the accomplishment of projects at GRCC and make “students feel like their voice is being heard,” said Emily Smitter, member of PSA and president of GRCC Cares and College Activities Board.

Ross Pike, executive director of the PSA and president of WIN, said that “the Progressive Student Alliance is hoping that with this petition doctors Ryskamp and Stewart will see that students are standing in support of these programs” and they will not oppose the budget planned for them.

The petition will be submitted during the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 17, when the Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the mid-year budget for the college. The group expects to collect 1,000 signatures by that date.

Students interested in signing the petition and learning more about the projects led by the Progressive Student Alliance can contact the Student Life Office in 020 Student Center.