written by || Thomas Anderson; Director of Government Relations
Last Wednesday, myself, and Executive Director Carlee Diggins traveled to Winona State University to take part in the legislative mini-session that was taking place at various locations across southern Minnesota. We were joined by our State Chair Ola Abimbola, Vice Chair Sandra Shimba, Winona Campus Coordinator Holden Sill, and Winona Objective Specialist Brennan Sorensen. The mini-session was an opportunity for representatives to see the direct impacts of the policies they enact and to hear directly from constituents about issues that they hope will be addressed in the upcoming legislative session.
It was an amazing experience for me to meet Minnesota representatives and talk to them about students united and tell them some of the great stories and work that we have done as an organization. It was cool to see how they responded to who we are and what we did. Some people were super engaged and offered to help set up having students shadow representative at the capital and others simply thought we didn't match their key issues that won them their election.
Holden Sill | Winona State Campus Coordinator
As part of this mini-session, members of the Minnesota House of Representatives Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee engaged students, faculty, and administration in conversations around higher education issues. Committee Chair Connie Bernardy, Representative Wolgamott, and Representative Tou Xiong listened to testimony from two Winona State University faculty members and three Winona State University students.
Mercedes Williams, Jalen Crum, and Victoria Kmett shared personal stories about the transformative experience that was provided to them through Winona State University. The stories they shared were truly inspiring and highlight the enormous role that Minnesota State universities play in the development of students and communities. Moving forward with a common understanding of the barriers our students face will be extremely valuable as we work legislators in the upcoming session to create a more equitable and accessible MinnState system.
It is quite exhilarating to see fellow students and faculty members share their stories during the Higher Ed. Committee session; their testimonies were incredibly moving and the reception bodes well for our institutions on the verge of a successful future.
Ola Abimbola | State Chair
I really enjoyed hearing the other students stories;where they came from and where they are going, but also hearing what the faculty had to say and see them partner with the students on Higher Education issues.
Sandra Shimba | Vice Chair
Thank you to all the students, faculty, and legislators that took part in this event. It was an enormous success and we are increasingly excited to build upon this foundation as we continue our student advocacy work throughout the academic year.