Much of the 90-day Maryland General Assembly session in Annapolis can be grueling for state legislators and advocates alike. But few days, if any, are as inspiring to all involved as the annual Community College Student Advocacy Day, which brings together each year hundreds of students from all 16 community colleges for the annual trek to the state capital.
The event is aimed at urging legislators to provide adequate state funding for community colleges, which now serve half of all undergraduate students in Maryland each year. This year’s Student Advocacy Day, held on Thursday, Feb. 9, was an overwhelming success – reminiscent of the theme that the colleges highlighted in their advocacy for additional state funding: “SUPPORT = SUCCESS!”
After arriving to Annapolis in busloads from the various campuses around the state, students took part in a morning rally that featured enlightening speeches from a variety of legislators and community college leaders, and a selected student speaker. This year, it was a young man named Taren Nance, from Wor-Wic Community College, who drew a rousing ovation after sharing his powerful, personal story, which began with the words: “Simply put, community college saved my life.” Taren’s full story, and those of students from all the colleges, is found on the MACC website.
After the rally, each college’s group of students ventured out to meet with various State Senators and Delegates from their county delegations in Annapolis. In these smaller groups, they have the chance to have a dialogue with their elected officials about the difference that their community college is making in their lives and the importance of providing enough state funding to keep tuition affordable and preserve critical student services.
Here are a couple of wonderful news articles about the Student Advocacy Day event…
- The Baltimore Sun featured two articles, one on the statewide event and a second piece highlighting the story of an extraordinarily brave Howard Community College student, who has battled back from brain injury suffered in a car accident to pursue his education at HCC.
- A Patch.com story showcasing an enthusiastic group of Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) students (who, incidentally, were sporting some very nifty “SUPPORT = SUCCESS!” Student Advocacy Day shirts).
The advocacy work and the 90-day legislative session winds on for the community colleges, but Student Advocacy Day 2012 will go down once again in the books as a day to remember! Thanks to all who participated! Keep up the good work and keep in touch with our elected officials to let them know how important it is that they provide strong support for our community colleges.