March 8, 2019
GC students take part in Community College Advocacy Day
Participants hear from state legislators, attend General Assembly session
Garrett College students spent six hours on the road – including a pre-dawn departure – on Tuesday to participate in a statewide Community College Student Advocacy Day.
And they wouldn't have had it any other way.
"That was really cool to see democracy in action," said GC freshman Tierra Jones, an English major who is considering a career in journalism. "The experience made me want to write about it."
The Garrett College students were part of a standing-room-only crowd that included student representatives from all 16 Maryland community colleges who converged on the state capital to hear from Maryland State Senate and House of Delegate leaders. They were also able to sit in on a session of the Maryland House of Delegates and hear from a student speaker from Wor Wic Community College.
"It was pretty awesome to see all 16 community colleges represented in one room," said Brandon Jackson, Garrett College's student activities manager who coordinated GC's participation in the event.
"I've attended over a dozen Student Advocacy Days and it never gets old," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. "Students always seem to come away from this day more excited about the political process."
Five Garrett College students joined GC President Richard Midcap (far left) and GC Student Activities Manager Brandon Jackson (far right) in Annapolis on Tuesday for Community College Student Advocacy Day. The students, from left to right, are Robert Lawson, Kendra Friend, Sydney Friend, Haley Lowdermilk, and Tierra Jones.
Garrett College's delegation was front-and-center in the statewide Community College Student Advocacy Day photo.
GC sophomore Robert Lawson said the personal experiences various senators and delegates shared with students made the greatest impression on him.
"It was nice to hear from so many delegates and senators who are supportive of more funding for community college education," said Lawson. "And it was impressive how many of them had attended community colleges themselves."
GC's student delegates were pleased to have so many state leaders validate their own choices to begin their college educations at a community college.
"Garrett's been a great opportunity," noted GC sophomore Sydney Friend, noting the opportunity for one-on-one contact with professors as a GC strength. "I've always worried about saying I was going to a community college. This day helped reinforce that this was the right decision for me."
Sophomore Haley Lowdermilk agreed.
"We made the smarter choice – a good education and no student debt," observed Lowdermilk.
"We're getting the same education as students at other colleges at a lower cost," added sophomore Kendra Friend, who serves as Garrett College's Student Government Association president.
The Garrett College delegation dropped small, GC-related gifts at the offices of Senator George Edwards (R-1) and Delegate Wendell Beitzel (R-1A) along with an invitation to visit the GC student delegation back in McHenry in April to report on results of this year's General Assembly session.
"I've worked with state legislators for over two decades and none have been more responsive than Senator Edwards or Delegate Beitzel," said Midcap. "We're fortunate to have them representing Garrett County in Annapolis, and we look forward to them meeting with our students after their legislative session ends."
Jackson credited the Naylor Travel Fund – a Garrett College Foundation donor account – for providing funding for the Advocacy Day trip.
"Student Advocacy Day was very powerful for our students," noted Jackson. "Our students and I would like to thank the Foundation and the Naylor Travel Fund for helping to make this experience possible."