An Interview with Hollywood Aman
Student leaders from around the state have begun talking about forming a Statewide Student Association (SSA) of the sort found in many other states. Typically organized as a federation of student governments, the SSA allows students to pool resources to have more power as they work on common issues. Hollywood Aman, a PHENOM Board member, is President of the Student Government Association (SGA) at Bunker Hill Community College and is active in the Massachusetts effort.
PHENOMENAL NEWS (PN): What’s it been like being president of the SGA?
Hollywood Aman: Extremely busy! Bunker Hill is the largest community college in the state and the 8th largest public institution. So there’s always so much to do, so many issues to address.
PN: What got you interested in an SSA?
Aman: Massachusetts is known as a college state and Boston is the biggest college town in the country – but it’s not all Harvard and MIT. Our public colleges are not what they’re supposed to be. It’s unacceptable that we’re 45th in the country in funding. So many students can’t complete school – not because of anything but finances. An SSA would help because we would bring issues to light and work toward Obama’s goal of more college degrees so we can be the most educated country in world. An SSA could hold politicians accountable. I’m so proud to be part of helping to start one.
PN: What have you learned about SSA’s?
Aman: I’ve seen what has happened in other states. When California tried — dared — to cut higher education, students took to the streets and caused chaos; their anger was felt. They were better able to organize because of having an SSA. An SSA could also help fight against what they’re doing to teachers – look at Wisconsin and Rhode Island and their ill use of power. With an SSA, students can better stand up for the teachers.
PN: What are you and others doing to help start an SSA in Massachusetts?
Aman: We’re identifying the problems, trying to educate students about our government, trying to branch out and build chapters in every public school. I went to the Community College Student Leadership Conference – it gave me good opportunity to connect with people and talk about PHENOM and the SSA.
PN: How do you see the SSA and PHENOM working together?
Aman: We have the same goals and would work well together. There lots of really committed people in PHENOM. I fully expect Alex (Kulenovic) to be a Senator some day!
PN: What should people do if they are interested in this idea?
Aman: Band together. Follow your heart. Join the movement. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org We have access to information if you want to make a difference.