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A Look Back at the Arizona Students' Association

by Cesar Aguilar
May 20, 2019

This interview with Cesar Aguilar, the executive director of the Arizona Students' Association, was conducted and condensed by frank news.

What are the overarching priorities of ASA?

We advocate for affordable and accessible higher education. It doesn't matter your background, your legal status, or where you come from. We want everyone to have equal access to a higher education. We believe that higher education is a right, and that everyone should have a right to a public education.

We do this by educating students on how to lobby, how to navigate power, and how to get a seat at the table making decisions. When we first started we were fighting for the 26th amendment – which gave students the right to vote at 18. We still focus on voter rights for young people.

How did you get involved in the ASA?

I got involved when we were connected to the National Student Association. President Obama was doing a lot of reforms to higher education. I remember jumping on a phone conference with the Secretary of State.

Everyone was at the table helping the secretary of education, Arne Duncan, with Obama's executive orders on reform on student loans. That was when I was like "wow, this organization is actually doing something about what is going on." 

Funding only comes when you start to see a wave of a movement. As people start pushing for these things, then you start to see funding come back to the organizations.

ASA 2018

Below is a brief history of the ASA – and highlighted examples of their decades of work.