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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Showers to be available to any City College students in need

Matt Johnson
Nicholas Steil, vice president of Student Affairs, visits the men’s locker room in the Sports Pavilion at Santa Barbara City College, Friday, Feb. 28. Steil, has been pushing for the initiative to allow homeless students access to locker room showers for over three years.

City College students are taking huge steps to provide homeless students with basic necessities so they can focus on bettering their education. The former vice president of external affairs here at City College, Nicholas Steil, has been fighting for years to make showers available to those who may otherwise not have access.

“We’ve been getting opposition to this, so I know it’s going to make waves and it’s going to be effective,” said Steil.

Since coming up with the idea back in 2012, he has taken the proposal to the state level and helped introduce Assembly Bill 1995.

Steil’s first hand experience with homelessness drove him to create the bill. After becoming homeless and living in his car, he started using the locker-room and shower facilities at City College, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

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“I’ve been through hell and back,” said Steil.

He isn’t the only one who has dealt with this either. In 2015, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid reported there were about 58,000 homeless college students across America.

Students enrolled in a physical education class have automatic shower use at City College, but Steil found the accommodations could be better. He pointed out that course repeatability is an issue, along with handicapped students’ ability to even complete a physical education class, and an overall time constraint.

“As a homeless student you’re looking for something to eat, you’re looking for a place to store your belongings, you’re constantly on the go to try to get things done. It doesn’t make sense to try to add 26 more hours of coursework to your schedule as well,” said Steil.

He formed a different set of rules in order to make the bill more appealing for students and administration. Showers would be available for any student enrolled in community college with at least six units, who is in good academic standing, and has paid their fees.

However, Steil wants to tackle this issue statewide, not just at City College.

He became an active member of honor society Phi Theta Kappa, which allowed him to draft the original shower project proposal. After taking the proposal to the regional level, Steil was elected as senator for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges in 2015 and the bill has been made a legislative priority.

From here, the senate began contacting representatives to introduce the bill, and assemblymember Das William signed on.

Williams’ first hand experience also led him to feel extra compassion for the cause.

“The idea resonated because I was homeless at City College,” he said. “I was not able to use showers even though I was a full time student.”

The bill was introduced this February and will go to the governor by August, with 30 days to be voted on. If passed, the law would go into effect this coming January, according to Williams.

Steil encourages everyone to support the bill through writing letters, phone banking and community outreach.

“I have big hopes for this,” said Steil. “I’m going to fight for these students.”

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