News Gc Students Participate In Student Advocacy Day - Garrett College
Apply Now
Plan a Visit
Request Info
Make a Gift

Campus News

February 27th, 2023

GC students participate in Student Advocacy Day

Annual event highlights mission, role of community colleges

Garrett College students participating in Community College Student Advocacy Day were pleased to learn that new Maryland Governor Wes Moore is one of them.

"That's kind of cool," said GC freshman Maura DeBor, referencing Governor Moore's status as a community college graduate. "During high school, everyone said you had to go to a four-year college. I know a lot of them are now paying $40,000 or $60,000 a year."

"I feel like a lot of high school students don't know about the value of community colleges," observed sophomore Harmoni Swain, who has already earned a computer science degree and is finishing up cyber security courses. "It's a good place to start."

DeBor (Pennsylvania) and Swain (Virginia) represented GC's large out-of-state student population as part of the College's Student Advocacy Day delegation. Local student representative Olivia Warne, a 2021 Southern Garrett High School graduate who grew up in Garrett County, said she "always planned to come to Garrett College."

"There are so many opportunities coming to school here," said Warne, noting the College's large scholarship program and the ability to transfer easily to four-year institutions. "I have had the best time and made so many new connections."

DeBor, Swain, and Warne took part in Tuesday's virtual event with students from all 16 Maryland community colleges. The event is typically held at the capitol in Annapolis, but construction at the capitol led to this year's virtual format.

Student delegates and staff from the various colleges heard from multiple state officials, several with their own community college experiences.

"My senior year in high school I began taking courses at Harford Community College," noted Brad Fallon, a former state delegate and senator who is Governor Moore's deputy legislative officer.

"After high school I decided to stay at Harford and earn a degree," continued Fallon. "I met some really fantastic faculty . . . and was able to get an internship in the State Senate. That started me on my future path."

Delegate Stephanie Smith, also a former community college student, was another Advocacy Day speaker.

"I want to be a partner and an ally of community colleges," said Smith, who "promised to ensure student voices will be heard."

Smith said students have a responsibility to take part in the political process.

"Students can do so much more than vote," she said. "They can hold their legislators accountable."

After the statewide meeting, GC students met with Senator Mike McKay, who represents Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties in the Maryland State Senate.

"The students really seemed to enjoy their interactions with Senator McKay," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. "I appreciate that our students took the time to be involved and learn more about advocacy and the legislative process. I also want to thank Senator McKay for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with our students."

"I thought it was very inspiring to meet our Senator and learn about new bills they [the legislators] are trying to pass," said Warne.

McKay noted he and Delegate Jim Hinebaugh are jointly sponsoring legislation this session that would increase the state share and reduce Garrett County's share of funding required for Garrett College capital projects. Midcap said the legislation would be "a game-changer" for Garrett College as it begins the process of renovating "40- and 50-year-old original campus buildings."

Drew Catone, GC's student activities manager, coordinated the College's participation in Student Advocacy Day. The Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) sponsored and coordinated the event on behalf of Maryland's 16 community colleges.

"MACC does a great job advocating for community colleges and their students," said Midcap. "I think this was an outstanding experience for our students."