Twenty million dollars was the goal but students were looking for more. High hopes and an early start propelled TSU’s Day at the Capitol in Austin, where student leaders talked with state legislatures and advocated on behalf of Texas Southern University.
In conjunction with the Texas Legislative Black Caucus’ biennial summit, Texas Southern students were recognized on the House Floor and were given a standing ovation. For many students, the day served as an entry into state politics, seeing the legislative process at work and getting an in-depth understanding of what it takes to advocate in front of state lawmakers.
More importantly, students had a concrete goal upon entering the capitol in Austin, Texas. Students were seeking four million dollars to Pathways to Success and Completion, twelve million dollars for Infrastructure Support, and four million to better support our School of Pharmacy.
They were also asking lawmakers to support House Bill 1516, seeking to remove the expiration date on the athletic fees that students see in their tuition bill, ensuring the university can maintain and grow its sport’s programs.
Student-athletes, campus leaders, faculty and alumni gathered early on Feb. 25, for the trip, dressed in maroon and grey to proudly represent their university.
In an email to the student body regarding the Day at the Capitol, President Dr. Austin A. Lane was, “proud of the way our participants, especially our students, represented themselves and the university throughout the day.”
Come lunchtime, students ate barbeque among other HBCUs and some of the members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Some students were more nervous than others, but all of them confidently spoke to lawmakers about Texas Southern’s legislative agenda.
“The day at the capitol was very interesting,” said Tori Boyce, a campus leader, and political science major, “I enjoyed being in the atmosphere of legislatures and lobbying on behalf of my university was empowering. The experience was eye-opening to what takes place at the capitol, which is really just a lot of networking.”
It was even some student’s first time traveling to Austin, and with the opportunity to roam the Capitol halls, the experience of being in the Capital is sure to inspire students to go back.