"March in March" faces diminishing returns

The name “March in March” brings to mind groups of people marching together in solidarity for a cause, maybe even evoking the image of the protesters walking over the bridge in Selma to have their voices heard. Santa Monica College Associated Students Director of Outreach Yana Demeshko, who is also vice-president of Region VII of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, has taken the charge in planning SMC’s participation in the march.

“It’s effective the first time you do it. It’s effective when there’s a huge issue going on,” says Demeshko. “But when it’s a yearly scheduled event and all students march for is no budget cuts when there’s no budget cuts, it’s weird.”

In lieu of an actual march, the visit will consist of legislative visits with state legislators.

“To me personally, meeting the legislators would bring far more beneficial effect than just marching,” she said.

AS will send eight directors and an adviser to Sacramento to the event via airplane from Burbank for a proposed $5,000.

Traditionally, the AS charts a bus and invites the general student population to join, with last year’s proposed budget being $15,000. But according to Demeshko, a lack of organization was a key factor, citing other events which distracted from planning.

“It’s something that should have been planned last semester but it was just never taken care of,” said Demeshko.

Her plan was initially to have clubs installed as soon as spring semester started so they can fund 25 percent of their participation while AS covers the other 75 percent.

“We would take more students with us, but we only have one adviser who agreed to come with us, and that’s Sonali Bridges,” said Demeshko. Bridges said, “Due to the low number of students attending, it was not cost effective to take a large bus as it would not even be a quarter full. Therefore, we are flying to Sacramento.”

Demeshko said, “March in March is supposed to be for general students to come and see what advocacy is like, because we’re going to meet with legislators and lobby.”

She says it’s the biggest opportunity AS gets to involve non-AS members to participate in politics. "For some people just having students march is advocacy for them," said Demeshko.