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Approximately, 1 out of 5 students who start college drop out of school due to financial pressure. In recent years, student leaders in our network of student campus leaders have led successful campaigns working to address student basic needs insecurity. They have established student food pantries on their campus and written, proposed, and passed legislation at the state level addressing college student hunger and basic needs insecurity.

We believe students are the key to creating change in our system of higher education in order to make getting a degree accessible to all - no matter their class background. We believe in centering student voices in this work since they are experts on their own experiences, and are best positioned to change higher education for the better.

SBNC has recently launched a national program called the Momentum Institute - a program where a selected group of students and recent graduates are trained on the fundamentals of advocacy on and off campus. Momentum Fellows will learn best practices on how to be the more effective change agents possible.


We are currently working to recruit the Fall 2022 cohort of Momentum Fellows. Students selected to be Momentum Fellows will complete a ten-week program that will equip them with the practical real-world skills that will help them to build advocacy Campaigns for Change on their campuses or at the state level to ensure that all students who want to will be able to graduate.




Week 1 - Orientation and Overview

Week 2 - How to Create Policy Change

Week 3 - Research your issue

Week 4 - Write Your Policy

Week 5 - Share Your Story

Weeks 6, 7, & 8 - Organizing 101 and Building a Coalition

Week 9 - Mobilization Tactics

Week 10 - Frontloading Basic

Week 11+ - Beginning Your Campaign for Change



Location: The fellowship program is entirely remote
Time Commitment: 3 to 5 Hours Per Week
Duration: 10-Week Program
Oversight: Momentum Fellows will be supervised by SBNC leaders, including members of the
National team.

Core Skills Gained Through Participation:

- Power Mapping
- Writing policies
- Testifying at meetings 
- Relationship building
- Creating a campaign plan
- Mass mobilization tactics
- Crafting a pitch deck
- Building a media plan and pitching
- Running a press conference
- Growing your leadership team
- And more!

 2022 Momentum Fellows 


Abraham Lemus


Abe Lemus (He/Him) is a Senior Political Science Major at Emporia State University. He was born and raised in Emporia Kansas. He is a first-generation college student and a TRIO McNair Scholar. Abe has a passion for achieving social and political equity; especially advocating for equitable access to basic needs and higher education as he believes that it should be a right and not a privilege.


Anjana Kailasanath


I go to South Brunswick High School in South Brunswick, New Jersey. I am passionate about higher education access because it allowed my parents to become first generation college students, and I am eager to see this right available other youth!


Isabella Aguilar


Hi! My name is Isabella Aguilar and I use she/her/hers pronouns. I am originally from Austin, Texas but spent four years in southern California going to school at Pitzer College. Here, I majored in Political Science with a minor in Anthropology. I am passionate about making higher education a more inclusive environment and making non-traditional students / first generation students feel comfortable and empowered on campuses across the nation, making formerly PWI a more diverse and equitable place.


Joshua McCray


Joshua McCray is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia's College at Wise where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in History. Josh currently works as a Clinical Research Coordinator with Interventional Cardiology at the UVA School of Medicine. A native of Wise, Virginia, and a first generation college student, Josh became passionate about equity and affordability in higher education through both his own personal experience and through collaborative work with his peers. Throughout his undergraduate career, Josh had the opportunity to represent his peers interests and needs to various higher education boards and entities. While at UVA Wise, he served as a SCHEV representative, Student body President, and on the UVA Wise Board of Directors.


Saisunee Moonsatan


My name is Saisunee Moonsatan. I go by Patt. My pronouns is she/her/hers. I am originally from Thailand and living in Seattle, Washington right now. I have recently graduated from University of Washington school of Law. My area of interest is International development, International law and Human rights. I am passional about equal rights of individual especially education as I consider it as the most important foundation of a person.


Nainaa Oberoi


My name is Nainaa. My pronouns are she/her. I am currently enrolled in the University of South Carolina and am a senior. I am passionate about higher education because I believe that everyone deserves an education that is built of equity.


Nickelliot Yadir Veloz-Gallardo


I'm Nickelliot Veloz, (he/him) from El Paso, Texas, attending Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY as Political Science Major with a minor in Legal Studies and Business Administration minor.


Nina Mims


My name is Nina Mims, my pronouns are She/Her/Hers. I am originally from Chicago and I am a senior at Indiana State University majoring in fine arts and double minoring in civic leadership and legal studies. Having access to higher education gives people to opportunity to choose for themselves and help make our community better.

Olivia Bryant Headshot 2021.jpg

Olivia Bryant


My name is Olivia Bryant, and I am from Anselmo, Nebraska. I am a fourth-year student at Chadron State College, located in the panhandle of Nebraska, majoring in Communications Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations with minors in History and Legal Studies. My pronouns are she/her. Higher education access is a passion of mine because I believe that all individuals should have equal opportunities to invest in their future regardless of their background.


Sarah Shapiro


Sarah Shapiro (she/her) is a sophomore at Yale University from Los Angeles, California studying Education Studies and American Studies with a concentration in Politics and Communities. She is a community organizer dedicated to dismantling boundaries to equitable and inclusive education. Sarah is passionate about increasing access to higher education and wraparound services (i.e. childcare, food, and housing) because equity in higher education is a matter of racial and economic justice.

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