A group of 60 student leaders from four universities gathered together at the Arkansas State Capitol Monday to talk about legislative issues that affect them directly as college-aged adults.
The event, Day at the Capitol, included host University of Central Arkansas and participants from Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The assembly met in the rotunda of the building and representatives from each school spoke on the importance of increased funding for higher education, what efforts their students would like to see and any accomplishments made at the university level.
Each university was then tasked with reading its 2017 Day at the Capitol resolutions.
UCA Student Government Association Senior Class President Ashlin Stock said the day gives students the chance to experiencing lobbying and speaking on issues that influence them.
Stock said the group has been focusing on increased funding for high education and each year, the participating schools pass resolutions and the documents are presented at the event.
“The resolutions state our support and the necessity for increased funding for higher education,” she said. “We believe it is important for our senators, as well as any interested students, to have the experience working with our representatives and to be comfortable being vocal about current issues.”
SGA President Hershila Lallu said it’s vital for students to be engaged and knowledgeable about matters that concern them and learn to use their voices to speak up about what they want but one day at the capitol a year isn’t enough; they must be active in the process, working to make sure state officials are informed about their concerns and ideas as well.
After the readings, the participants were given a tour of the capitol building and were free to meet with local representatives.
“The most meaningful part of the day for me [was] definitely seeing all of [the] participation and [camaraderie] among four-year public institution SGAs in pursuit of a common goal,” Stock said. “Equitable funding for higher education is a conversation that needs to be prioritized at the state governing level, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have a role within SGA that empowers students to have a voice in this conversation.”
Day at the Capitol was started in 2013 by a committee with the UCA SGA and this year’s group was the most the event has seen.