The 2018 Student Advocacy Day for Maryland Community Colleges brought student contingencies to Annapolis on February 7, including students from the College of Southern Maryland to encourage the state’s elected officials to provide their support of Maryland’s 16 community colleges.

“It was inspiring to see students from all campuses come together to represent the college,” said Prince Frederick Campus Student Association Treasurer Michael Miranda of Owings. “From the Maryland Promise to the issue of health insurance, I personally felt more enlightened about issues our state faces. For me, the most impressive moment was when we, as a collective group, all sat together as we awaited to meet with our first legislator,” Miranda added. “We were all excited and, more importantly, united in terms of advocating for the College of Southern Maryland.”

CSM’s 16 student representatives met with Southern Maryland’s state senators and delegates to thank them for their support and to ask for full funding of state aid for community colleges, to support the Maryland Promise Program, and to expand eligibility of senatorial and house scholarships to include students pursuing career certifications and licenses.

“I believe the representatives really appreciated and respected the students for taking the initiative to come up to Annapolis to learn the inner workings and advocate for what we believe in, and that, in turn, makes me respect our representatives more,” said Leonardtown Campus Student Association Secretary Eileen Fowler of Hollywood.

After CSM’s students had the opportunity to talk individually with Southern Maryland’s elected officials, student representatives sat in on a hearing for HB 648 on Maryland Consumer Rights and later toured the Maryland State Capital.

“I felt the most impressed when we sat through a hearing of what I believed to be a proposed bill for consumer protection. It was amazing to hear the process and have a first-hand experience on these delegates listening to the people and their response to them,” said La Plata Student Association Treasurer Camille De Jesus of Bryans Road. “I felt like many of them were here to serve and represent the public like me. It was an amazing day to speak to our delegates and senators about the importance of supporting community colleges. I felt a connection to these delegates because some of them have been through community college and understand how we feel.”

As part of the Student Advocacy Day, representatives from the state’s 16 community colleges rallied in the Miller Senate Office Building, with remarks provided by Dr. Charlene Dukes, chair of the Community College Presidents and President of Prince George’s Community College, as well as by student speakers Marta Cruz and her daughter Emily Rosado-Cruz, both whom are students at Carroll Community College.

The CSM representatives in addition to DeJesus, Fowler and Miranda were Suha Ansari of Waldorf, Francis Bartels of Fort Washington, Sashin Beharie of Waldorf, Lisa Dixson of Lusby, Jeremy Foster of Waldorf, MaKaela Henderson of Bryans Road, Kelley Ingram of Waldorf, Derrick Jackson of Dunkirk, Jonathan Parcell of Leonardtown, Carly Pollock of Leonardtown, Janelle Stack of Lusby, Markus Tarjamo of Waldorf, Ella Videgla of Waldorf and Genevra Williams of Accokeek.“The students were terrific, and showed themselves well. Their questions were very good, and their manners excellent. I was proud of them,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy.

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