In early May, the Washington Student Association acknowledged Bellevue College’s Office of Student Legislative Affairs with two awards. The first recognized BC’s OSLA for having the “strongest coalition work in the membership of WSA in 2013,” and the second recognized OSLA Organizing Director Thuy Ngoc “Tweedy” Pham as “the student with the best grassroots organizing efforts in WSA for 2013.”
The Washington Student Association is a student-led organization, which advocates for funding for higher education. In total, WSA members come from 11 different colleges and universities across the state, and those members represent over 120,000 students involved in postsecondary education.
Pham is proud of the work the OSLA has done this year, especially because BC is the only two-year institution with membership in the WSA, and Legislative Director Kristin Velez is the only legislative representative living in Olympia from a two-year institution. “We stand out among all those four-year [universities],” said Pham. “Of all the advantages they have, they can not do as good as us.”
The OSLA’s mission is entirely focused on students. “Whatever they care about, we stand up for them unconditionally,” said Pham. Within the past year, the OSLA has lobbied in Olympia for the DREAM Act affecting undocumented student financial aid, for lower tuition for students, against Seattle Metro Transit budget cuts and for various environmental causes. The achievement they were recognized for was the voter registration drive led by Pham during fall quarter, where more than 1,000 new voters were registered.
“They’re doing just amazing things,” said OSLA Staff Adviser Brandon Lueken. “And I know that because I work with [Pham] every day…but to be acknowledged by WSA for putting on a singular event and having some of the best organizing really acknowledges our unique role in WSA and it acknowledges the extremely hard work we already do.”
Pham said the OSLA appreciates the recognition, but to her, the award is irrelevant. “It’s just a piece of paper,” said Pham. “It’s just a recognition award. But by doing it, [the WSA] is boosting the energy of people doing this kind of work, and I will put more work into what we’re already doing. In the end, the student body is actually benefitting.”
“Throughout the year, we don’t work as our own,” said Pham. “We believe that by uniting voices and combining resources, we truly can make a difference. We can not stand to fight alone.”
For more information on the OSLA or to apply for positions for the 2013-2014 school year, visit the OSLA office in Student Programs, located in C-206.