Reflections of Community College Day
By Nicole Bautista
Students from junior colleges and community colleges across the state traveled to Austin to visit the Texas State Capitol for Community College Day Feb. 7.
The event raises awareness on matters critical to community college students.
The event takes place every year, and gives students the opportunity to meet with legislators while practicing civil engagement.
Seven members from this college’s Student Government Association attended the event.
“It was a great experience,” said SGA President Harley Williams.
“We sat in the gallery room and were able to have firsthand experience in seeing what it is like to make legislation.”
Attendees were invited to watch the Senate of the 85th Legislature conduct a live session from the gallery.
Students learned how bills are created, the roles of legislative committees and the governor’s role in signing legislation into law.
“I got to see our representatives at work on that floor,” said Quintin Longoria, vice president of SGA.
“I saw arguments to be had and legislation be passed, as well as recognition of people within our community,” Longoria said.
In addition to learning about the legislative process, the members of SGA met with Tomas Larralde, chief of staff for State Sen. José Menéndez, to discuss the affordability of tuition and a new plan called 60x30TX.
The 60x30TX initiative calls for 60 percent of Texans, age 25-34, to obtain a certificate or degree by 2030, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board website.
“They were very open with us about these topics,” Longoria said. “I really appreciated the invitation to their office.”
Mark Bigelow, SGA adviser and interim director of student life, accompanied the students.
Bigelow said this event is important for SGA members because it grants a chance for students to speak with elected officials about bills regarding higher education.
“It was very festive and heartwarming to finally see exactly who our elected representatives are and to see them actually doing the work we set them out to do to better our community,” Longoria said.