The student trustee’s voice on the district’s board is a valuable asset for students.
By Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor
Enrolled in both City College and UCLA, the Los Angeles Community College District student trustee Kenneth-Alan Callahan wants to make sure people hear his community.
Students throughout the district elected Callahan as trustee in last semester’s student government election. He chairs the Student Affairs Committee, in which student government presidents across the district meet to discuss issues surrounding their colleges. As part of his role, he attends district meetings and speaks on behalf of the students. Although he has a vote on the board, it is strictly an advisory vote.
Callahan did not run for the job for recognition — he hopes to hone his leadership skills while serving as a student advocate.
“I’m not really concerned about having the position,” said the trustee. “I really don't care about power; I care about results.”
Callahan works around his expectations of the role, pursuing issues on and around campuses throughout the district. He is currently working with the district’s sheriff’s departments on issues of crime and safety.
The third year psychology student floats around colleges throughout the district, but calls City College his home. At the time, the pandemic halted most forms of in-person student engagement, but Callahan made it a point to find a community. He joined the UMOJA program to converse with like-minded people with shared goals.
“He is incredibly ambitious,” said City College Umoja counselor Blaine K. Simmons. “He did anything he could to help his community out.”
Callahan worked closely with the program as a volunteer, organizer and general resource for others. Aside from attending and helping with various workshops and retreats, he spent his free time helping fellow Umoja students. The 20-year-old tutored his peers in statistics and psychology.
In his early days of joining the Umoja program, Callahan formed a club with friends to interview elders of the local Black community. Although short-lived, his club, The Black House, helped him connect with the shared history of Black people in and around Los Angeles.
Not only does the Bruin show passion for his position, he is fulfilling his ultimate goal of helping guide people’s voices to the right place.
Civic engagement is Callahan’s purpose, and he understands his help is most needed in the organization aspect. He hopes to work in the realm of activism, utilizing his go-getter attitude to coordinate social justice movements as a man behind the scenes.
“Being in the realm of advocacy and civic engagement, there is a lot of energy and potential within people to get things done — but there's a lot of disorganization,” said Callahan. “But if you have a means of organizing and creating a plan, then people can channel that energy into something. I want to help people channel their passion into something that is meaningful, rather than pushing it out and being mad that there's no real results in all of the anger and uprising.”