Courtesy of Patrick Aherns
After an over 30 percent increase in tuition at De Anza College during the Great Recession, former De Anza student Patrick Ahrens felt a call to get politically involved.
As a student, Ahrens served as student trustee on the Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees for one year and centered his activism towards the community college budget cuts, he said.
Soon, almost a decade after serving as student trustee, Ahrens will run again and be reappointed back to the Board of Trustees.
“As someone who went to De Anza community college, looking for a second chance on life,” Ahrens said. “I felt compelled to run again and serve my community on the community college board so I can be in the position to continue to advocate for students.”
Ahrens, who is in his twenties, will be the youngest non-student trustee on the Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees.
Being on the younger end, he said he brings a new perspective and new energy to the table.
He noted that these days, it’s a lot harder for students to obtain access to higher education.
“It’s never been more expensive, it’s never been more difficult, the barriers have never been greater for families, for students themselves,” he said.
Many students work more than one job to make ends meet and have to decide whether they should spend their money on textbooks, food or rent and these shouldn’t be issues students have to deal with, Ahrens said.
Ahrens said his goals as trustee are to help get the district out of the enrollment and budget decline situation, maintain fiscal responsibility and to advocate for more open-source educational resources for students.
He believes encouraging faculty members to adopt more open-source educational resources will greatly impact student success, he said.
“I’m coming in with clear eyes and a full heart,” Ahrens said. “My expectations are to listen more than I talk, to keep an open mind, and to do my best to do what is right for the district.”