How is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting New York’s college students? On Tuesday, July 28, the New York State legislature invited Young Invincibles to testify on how the state’s students and colleges adapted to the coronavirus — and the challenges ahead as students prepare for another socially distant semester.
Melanie Kruvelis, Young Invincibles Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy, testified on how COVID-19 exacerbated existing racial and economic inequalities in New York’s public college system, including around students’ mental health, and access to food and housing. Zaret Cortorreal, a Lehman College student and a member of Young Invincibles’ Young Advocates program, shared her experience navigating COVID-19 and college in a homeless shelter, and the resources that helped her secure stable housing and persist in college during the pandemic. Both Melanie and Zaret offered recommendations to the legislators present, including investing in mental health services, creating liaisons to help college students experiencing homelessness, and investing in free-college programs such as CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) and Accelerate Complete Engage (ACE) programs.