Community Colleges Fill Critical Educational Needs
Student representatives from the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) met with their state legislators Feb. 8 in Annapolis as part of Student Advocacy Day, an annual event sponsored by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC).
CSM's students were joined by hundreds of their counterparts from Maryland's 15 other community colleges in asking for support from members of the Maryland General Assembly to keep tuition affordable and to make it possible for more students to attend college by funding non-credit workforce development programs and instructional programs/health manpower shortage program grants.
During the day's opening session, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. spoke with all representatives attending Student Advocacy Day. “We're going to find a way to hold down tuition for community colleges,” Miller said. Community colleges “are the first line of defense for our educational system.”
The face-to-face setting provided the opportunity for students to personally advocate for full community college funding by sharing how an affordable college education will shape their own futures, according to MACC organizers. The CSM students were enthusiastic about the reception they received from the legislators representing Southern Maryland.
“They're all very down-to-earth,” said Genevra Williams of Accokeek, one of the CSM students, as the group prepared to leave Annapolis. “It's an experience I'll never forget.”
“They're cool people,” said Elle Williams of Port Tobacco, another CSM student.
After the morning rally, CSM students were able to meet with members of the Southern Maryland delegation to share the circumstances that drew them to the community college.
Meeting with the CSM students after the rally were Sen. Thomas M. Middleton and Sen. Stephen M. Waugh and State Delegates Gerald W. Clark, Matt Morgan, Edith J. Patterson and Deborah C. Rey. Miller also met with the CSM students later in the day as they toured Middleton's office and the Senate Finance Committee Hearing Room.
CSM students attending were Francis Bartels of Fort Washington, Cassie Bertele of Hollywood, Nicholas Combs of Chaptico, Christina Combs of Chaptico, Chloe Dickson of Upper Marlboro, Simon French of Port Republic, Kelley Ingram of Waldorf, Derek Jackson of Dunkirk, Will Parr of Huntingtown, Barbara Scotland of Hughesville, Renae Thomas of Port Republic, Elle Williams of Port Tobacco and Genevra Williams of Accokeek, and recent graduate, Kara Leonard of Lexington Park.
Students captured the day's activities and their impressions on CSM's social media on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. To view their posts, visit https://www.facebook.com/CollegeofSouthernMaryland.
Accompanying the students were CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried, Vice Presidents Dr. Bill Comey and Dr. Tracy Harris, Student Life and Athletics Executive Director Michelle Ruble, Student Life Coordinators Ricardo Perez and Jennifer Van Cory, Student Services Executive Director Dr. Lydia Williams, Senior Photography Coordinator Val Nyce, Media Relations Coordinator Susan Craton and Community Relations Assistant Vice President Karen Smith Hupp.
For information on the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, visit http://mdacc.org/. For information on CSM, visit www.csmd.edu. For photos of the day?s program, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/2017sad.