Recap of month one for student legislative intern
Last July, for the first time, I was introduced to the Washington Community and Technical College Student Association (WACTCSA) and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges at the WACTCSA summer training. This was part of my new job as Senator of Legislative Affairs at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC). That summer was around the time I started getting that itch for political activism. The job with the SPSCC Senate felt like a perfect fit, and that’s where I started my journey. Fall quarter started coming to an end, and the State Board put out its intern application. And I got it! Over the entire winter break, I was so ecstatic to be working at the State Board and to be finally working at the capitol part-time.
The work of a student legislative intern for the State Board is exciting. Every week has new challenges, new legislation, and new feel to it. My first week of session was enriching. Before taking this position, I knew the legislative process well. Being able to witness it and be a part of it was a completely different level, especially from a student’s perspective. The first time I went to testify before the House Appropriations Committee, I looked around and found myself to be the only student in the room. Shocker! However, I felt privileged to be in a position to speak for students concerning the governor’s supplemental operating budget and how it does not support a fully-funded State Need Grant. On my way back to the seat after my testimony, I was greeted by whispers of “good job” and “silent high-fives”. It was a comfort, and also a reminder, that student voices are wanted and valued by others on the hill.
Not only has the learning experience on the hill been enriching, but the work I do with SBCTC’s student services office is just as important. Over the past few weeks, there have been a couple of student legislative engagement events that have taken place and a few to come. Part of my role here at the State Board is communicate these events to the student bodies of CTCs and to seek out those who want to be a part of the legislative process.
One upcoming event is the Student Engagement Network with its Student Engagement Day on Feb. 5. The whole day is centered on a fully-funding the State Need Grant. Students from colleges, universities and high schools will be in Olympia to share with legislators why a fully-funded State Need Grant is necessary. I personally love this part of my job because I get to form relationships with other students all across the state who want to provide input on decisions that will be made about their education. I’ve learned that communication is the key to success. There are a total of 381,000 students that make up our colleges, and creating that bridge between the needs of students and Legislature is paramount.