California State University Northridge’s professor of Chicana/o Studies Gabriel Buelna was recently elected to Seat Six of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees. He will begin his tenure as a trustee on July 1.
According to Buelna, there are approximately 250,000 students in the LACCD, which has more students than University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), University of Southern California (USC), California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and CSUN combined. Becoming a member of the LACCD is a personal accomplishment for Buelna, because he gets the opportunity to be a part of something beneficial to students.
“For me, this position [in LACCD] means being able to have empathy for a system that works for everyone,” Buelna said. “The community colleges [in Los Angeles] are essential to economic viability.”
Buelna said his plans as a board member are student-centered. He hopes to help students achieve their own idea of success by increasing resources, reducing the time it takes to transfer and increasing transfer rates.
“I want to make resources available to students and help students succeed in whatever they want to do,” Buelna said. “Whether it is a certification program, work force development, a culinary career or a cosmetology license – whatever they would like.”
As a CSUN Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) alumnus, Buelna knows how influential an institution can be in student success.
“I got into CSUN through [EOP and] I was not prepared for college when I started at CSUN in 1990,” he said. “But CSUN showed that it cared for me — now I have a Ph.D. and a law degree.”