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Independent California Colleges Advocate Program


The AICCU Independent California Colleges Advocate Program (ICCAP) is a competitive, six-month program attended by a cohort of diverse students from AICCU member institutions. ICCAP is the unified voice for the 360,000 students (189,000 undergraduate and 170,000 graduate students) across 85 independent colleges and universities. The program develops the leadership, communication, and advocacy skills of participants and deepens their knowledge of how policymaking affects their education. The program trains students to effectively advocate in public spheres and amplifies the student voice to broaden policymakers’ understanding of the sector and its contributions to California.

Criteria for Participation

  • Current undergraduate or graduate student of any major at an AICCU institution during the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Interest in any of the following:
    • Advocating on behalf of fellow students
    • Influencing higher education policy related student access and equity
    • Impacting the California legislative process
    • Supporting student services for greater success outcomes
  • Meet the application deadline on November 15, 2019 by submitting:
    • The online Application Form
    • Biography
    • Headshot picture in jpg/jpeg format
    • Essay prompt: What do you consider the top three challenges for students in California’s higher education?

Requirements of Participation

Designed as a skills builder program for aspiring student leaders in their undergraduate or graduate studies, participation involves a 25 to 30-hour time commitment. The program runs from December 2019 through May 2020. Students are not expected to self-fund any travel associated with the program.

If selected, participants are required to participate in the following:

  • One-day program orientation: (January 25, 2020, Location TBD) Led by AICCU staff, participants will learn about the independent college and university sector, the legislative and budget process, effective advocacy strategies, and protocols for social media engagement.
  • Day at the Capitol: (February 25, 2020, Sacramento, CA) The day includes advocacy training, networking opportunities, and participation in legislative visits with legislators and staff. AICCU asks that the institutions cover the cost of transportation to and from Sacramento for their respective student participant.
  • Outreach component: One of the primary roles of the ICCAP participants is to be the voice of AICCU at regional meetings and events. This may include participation in an office visit with a state senator, Assembly member, or other policymaker (i.e. someone from the governor’s staff, California Student Aid Commission, etc.). AICCU will provide training and guidance for these meetings and follow up actions.
  • Social media component: AICCU will provide participants with with a social media tool kit and guidelines. Utilizing an ICCAP-designated Twitter handle and relevant hashtags, participants will post pictures and short messages to raise awareness around priority legislative or budget items from the student perspective.
  • Multi-Media Impact Project: The program participants will have the option to produce a 30 to 60-second video clip or work collaboratively to produce a presentation of their experience in the ICCAP. AICCU reserves the right to utilize these in the future.
  • Evaluation component: Complete an online assessment of the program.