Students share ideas with lawmakers at Community College Day

Community College Day Group

Austin Community College students joined more than 1,900 of their peers from across the state at the Texas Capitol February 3 to raise awareness for issues critical to community college students.

A record number of students gathered for this year’s Community College Day sponsored by the Texas Association of Community Colleges. The annual event gives students a chance meet with legislators while learning about civic engagement.

Armed with research, the students advocated for topics such as a common course numbering system for state colleges and universities, gun control legislation, textbook tax exemptions, and college affordability, including President Barack Obama’s recent proposal for free community college tuition.

This year's Community College Day drew a record turnout.

This year’s Community College Day drew a record turnout.

“Students want their voices to be heard, and they want to make sure that community colleges get the right treatment,” said ACC Student Government Association President John Gizdich, one of about 50 ACC students attending.

ACC’s delegation was its largest in several years, despite the chilly and wet weather for the event’s opening rally on the Capitol steps.

“They’re excited and they’re enthusiastic,” said History Professor David Lauderback, who accompanied the group. “I’m pleased by the number of folks we have here today, and even more pleased by the enthusiasm and the momentum this will generate.”

ACC President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes kicked off the event by encouraging students to share their stories with lawmakers.

Dr. Richard Rhodes kicked off the event.

Dr. Richard Rhodes kicked off the event.

“We’re glad to see you here today because you’re going to be part of the story,” he said. “The pathway to the workforce is through community colleges, so don’t be afraid to tell your story.”

Following remarks by legislators and community college leaders, ACC students divided into groups to meet with lawmakers and their staff.

“Students learn about lobbying and the legislative process,” said SGA Coordinator Avy Gonzalez. “That’s one of the greatest experiences they get out of it.”

Visit the Student Government Association webpage to learn about the organization or to get involved. Read The 84th Texas Legislature and Education: What You Should Know to learn about issues ACC will be following during the legislative session.

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