Taking the activism on the road

Ashland Daily Tidings

The Ashland Student Union is growing.

The Ashland Student Union – created after the failure of Measure 28 as a way for politically active students to unite in support of stable education funding – is growing and members hope the concept will spread to schools throughout the nation.


Founder Evian DiStefano said students and teachers all over the nation are feeling the constraints of budget cuts.

“Schools all over the country are facing the same problem,” DiStefano said. “I think having a larger group of people voicing concerns will have a greater impact.”

DiStefano, an Ashland High School graduate, began organizing students last school year after attending a statewide rally – held on the capital steps in Salem Jan. 20 – in support of education. He returned to campus and began collaborating with students to organize a formal group with a collective voice to rally for change.

“Our goal is to make sure education policies favor the students and teachers,” DiStefano said.

Union members rallied in support of the Youth Activities Levy – carrying signs, going door to door and making phone calls for donations – and the union intends to stay politically active on the local level. However, by extending an umbrella to encompass education issues at the local, state and national levels, the union hopes to create a solid voice for those most impacted by education funding – the students and teachers.

DiStefano said students in the Medford School District may form a similar group and that several AHS graduates will be lobbying for affiliates at the university level in the fall.

“I’m going to see if I can set up affiliates in the D.C. area because that’s a place they need a voice. The quality of education is really low,” DiStefano said, adding he will be attending the American University in Washington D.C. at the end of August.

Ashland Student Union members – more than 80 AHS students are part of the union – will continue to lobby for quality education on a local level by attending community meetings and keeping up on political trends.

By extending efforts to a national level, union members hope to create a network of students across the country in support of education.

Ashland Student Union members plan to have a Web site available this fall.

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