Alvin Lee (he/him) is a current Freshman at Claremont Mckenna College studying public policy and government and the Founder and Executive Director of GENup. A proud graduate of California public schools and a Bay Area native, he has been deeply involved in California education policy since 9th grade and envisions an interconnected education system where student voice and leadership help drive policy creation. Prior to becoming engaged in ed policy, Alvin interned for then-candidate Gavin Newsom and State Assemblymember Kansen Chu. In both capacities, he helped with policy and legislative research. These opportunities combined with him seeing education inequity first-hand compelled him to speak at his first ever school board meeting.
Since then, he’s developed a spark and deep passion for public policy and community organizing. In the fall of 2019, he organized youth-led marches for education in three cities (Oakland, SF, San Jose) for the Schools and Communities First Ballot Initiative. After getting involved in local school district issues and noticing the lack of youth participation in education, he founded GENup: a national, youth-led advocacy organization that strives to advocate for education reform through the power of youth voices.
GENup is now California’s largest youth-led education advocacy organization, operating more than 100+ chapters across CA with more than 4,500 + bright student organizers and student leaders from across the State. GENup’s successes include working with the State Board of Education to create the State Seal for Civic Engagement, championing the historic ethnic studies bill (AB101) through the legislature & into law, fighting for equitable education funding during COVID, advocating for statewide mental health reform through legislation, successfully authoring/advocating/passing a bill into law on student board member rights (AB 824), campaigning for the U.S Department of Education’s first youth-advisory council, and passing (Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified, and Fresno Unified) first student bill of rights, collectively representing over 1.2 million students. Most recently,19 education bills in GENup’s 2020-2021 policy slate were signed into law by Governor Newsom, including legislation requiring a mental health curriculum in all high school health education courses.
He is also a founding member of the California Department of Education’s first Youth Advisory council, where students utilize youth voice to shape education-policy affecting all of California’s 6.3 million public school students. Alvin is also a co-founder of the California Student Board Member Association.