Student Senators Attend Advocacy Day 2017

Israel Gray, Cheryl Brogger, Ayuba Dansoho
Israel Gray, Cheryl Brogger, Ayuba Dansoho

 MSCSA event held at Minnesota State Capitol

Five members of the Student Senate at Dakota County Technical College attended Student Leadership Conference/Advocacy Day, February 20–21, 2017, at the Minnesota State Capitol. Cheryl Brogger, Student Senate president, participated in the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) event along with senate members, Israel Gray, Ayuba Dansoho, Margaret Steeves and Nafisa Mohamud. Israel, Ayuba and Nafisa also serve as DCTC student ambassadors. The student senators met with Senator Matt Little (DFL), District 58, and Representative Erin Maye Quade (DFL), District 57A , to advocate for student interests, including lowering the cost of tuition and textbooks.

Photos courtesy Cheryl Brogger, Margaret Steeves and MSCSA on Flickr.

More about Advocacy Day 2017… ¹

MSCSA student representatives trained with Capitol staff Monday, February 20, and took advantage of opportunities to meet Senator Michelle Fischbach (R), District 13, president of the Senate and Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee chair, and Representative Bud Nornes (R), District 08A, Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance chair.

On Tuesday, February 21, students attended nearly 70 meetings arranged between the Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota Senate. Students delivered the MSCSA message of a 1 percent tuition cut for two-year colleges as well as developmental education reform; the message was well received.

Students also got the chance to share their personal stories with legislators. Many students toured the newly remodeled State Capitol.

That afternoon, MSCSA students attended a meeting of the Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee. The students heard testimony and were recognized by Committee Chair Nornes. A small group of students placed an MSCSA-sponsored bill in “The Hopper” to complete the day.

MSCSA recognized the authors of the association’s legislative bills:

¹ Courtesy of MSCSA

Student perspective: Israel Gray

Israel Gray

Israel Gray

Advocacy Day is a two-day event held at the State Capitol by MSCSA for college students to meet legislators on issues that affect two-year colleges and their students. As the name indicates, the day is meant for advocacy on several issues such as tuition decrease, developmental education and increasing funding to drive reform. All these issues are important, but the primary focus is a 1 percent reduction in tuition.

Representative Erin Maye Quade

Rep. Quade

At this year’s Advocacy Day, five students represented DCTC, Cheryl Brogger, Margaret Steeves, Nafisa Mohamud, Ayuba Dansoho and I. Day one was spent preparing for legislative meetings, helping students develop their stories and sharing ideas for an effective Advocacy Day.

Day two was the real deal. Students from DCTC were scheduled to meet with three legislators, but we could only meet two as one had a committee meeting to chair. We first met with Representative Erin Maye Quade. Erin was very supportive of the tuition decrease and promised to vote in favor of the bill if it came to the floor.

Senator Little

Sen. Little

Our next meeting was with Senator Matt Little. During our meeting with Matt, we discovered that we had a lot in common. Matt had attended Inver Hills before transferring to the University of Minnesota. He is also a member of Lions Club and still faces the debt he accumulated as a student. Matt promised to support the bill and stay vigilant on issues of education, stating that we have an ally in the governor, who is also a huge supporter of improving budgetary allocations for higher education.

In between meetings at the Capitol, we managed a tour of the Capitol building along with the chambers of the Senate and Supreme Court, the Joint Assembly, and the offices of the governor and attorney general. We had a good time catching up with both historical and present moments. Advocacy Day wasn’t just two days of meetings; the event was filled with learning and fun—and as students of Dakota County Technical College, we were honored to attend.

Israel Gray, DCTC Student Senator and Student Ambassador

To learn more about Student Life and the Student Senate at DCTC, contact:

Nicole Meulemans
Director of Student Life and Activities

Anna Voight
Assistant Director of Student Life

Student Senate Office
Student Life Center