Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Independent College [Students Have Their] Day

AICUO's 2nd annual Independent College Day (ICD) was a smashing success. More than 120 students from 17 campuses converged on the Statehouse Atrium this morning with energy, passion, and tabletop displays, encouraging legislators to “Experience Independents.”

For almost 15 years, AICUO has brought together students for a day of engagement with their elected representatives, first with Student Lobby Day and starting last year with ICD. This year, students, faculty, and staff focused their efforts on the Atrium itself, inviting legislators to join them for discussions about what make independent colleges special for the students, the state, and their communities.

A pair of special sessions brought together about three dozen students each. First, Sen. Chris Widener, Vice Chair of the Finance Committee gave a presentation about the nature of his work on the committee, including broad discussions of taxation, spending, and the senator's new bill to encourage renewable energy production in the state.

Next, chairs of the two education committees, Rep. Brian Williams and Sen. Gary Cates, shared their views on education funding and their work to reform Ohio's K-12 and college education systems. Both sessions were well received by students.

More than a third of the legislature’s membership visited the Atrium between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., meeting with students and discussing the role of their colleges. Considering that, legislatively speaking, it was a very busy Wednesday, it was quite a showing.

— C. Todd Jones