This content was published: November 16, 2015. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

State Senator Michael Dembrow tells students they are powerful, can influence the system

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State Senator Michael Dembrow of District 23 (Northeast Portland) visited PCC’s Southeast Campus on Friday, Nov. 13 to have a conversation with students. More than 65 students, staff and faculty attended this event, which was the biggest turnout for the campus’ weekly Conversation Café.

Conversation Café started in 2011 in an effort to engage the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) student population at the Southeast Campus in a free, non-classroom setting and allow them a place to practice language skills through authentic conversation. Sen. Dembrow talked about the details of the Oregon Promise Program and shared the history of how the bill commonly known as “Free Community College bill” came to pass. He discussed that it took years for something like this to come to fruition, but that it started because of the interest and perseverance of students who engaged in the process.

“The students who helped us make this change were just like you,” Sen. Dembrow said. “Your personal, lived experience is powerful and can influence the system.”

Sen. Dembrow is a favorite at Portland Community College as he taught for years as an English and film studies instructor dating back to 1981. In addition, the senator talked with students about the two ways to get engaged today – get involved in the Associated Students Body of PCC (student government) and the PCC Legislative Internship Program, which is the only one at a community college in the state of Oregon. He stayed to answer questions from the students, including on topics such as the high cost of textbooks and whether or not he missed teaching, which he answered, “Yes, I do!”

  • Senator Dembrow speaks with student directly.
  • Senator Dembrow discussing the Oregon Promise bill recently passed in Oregon legislature.
  • Senator Dembrow explains the details of Senate bill 81 commonly known as the Oregon Promise.
  • Senator Dembrow addressing the crowd gathered at Conversation Cafe.
  • Senator Dembrow speaking.
  • Senator Dembrow speaks to students at the Conversation Cafe on Friday, November 13th 2015.
  • Students gather to take photos with Senator Michael Dembrow.
  • PCC Students sign in to take part in the Conversation Cafe with guest speaker State Senator Michael Dembrow.
  • Senator Dembrow hands his business card to ASPCC student leader Bo Koering after helping to lead the conversation during Friday's Conversation Cafe.
  • Senator Dembrow takes individual questions from ESOL students after addressing the whole crowd.
  • Group discusses the conversation Senator Dembrow helped to lead.

About Chabre Vickers

Chabre Vickers Community Relations Manager Portland Community College, Southeast Administration Hall, Room 205 2305 SE 82nd Ave, Portland OR 97216 P: 971.722.6061 | E: more »