A Capitol Occasion: UHD Students Visit Austin
By Claire Caton
Fifty students from the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) traveled to Austin this week to meet with their state representatives and senators and encourage support for the University's key legislative requests.
Students from various on-campus organizations, including the Student Government Association (SGA) and Scholars Academy, joined fellow undergraduates from UH-Central, UH-Clear Lake and UH-Victoria to advocate for increased funding for higher education. Specifically, UHD students addressed the University's need for a new science and technology building and asked that tuition revenue bonds be used to fund the facility. They also shared the need for increased student services on campus, including enhanced advising, to better support first-generation students.
"This trip was an excellent opportunity for us to interact directly with our state legislators and advocate for much needed funding to improve our University," said Wendy Ramirez, secretary of SGA at UHD. "We learned a lot about the legislative process, got to tour the beautiful Capitol and meet students from other University of Houston campuses."
Undergraduates from all four campuses met for lunch near the Capitol and broke into small groups to prepare speaking points to deliver to assigned legislators. University of Houston System Chancellor Renu Khator also addressed all the students at lunch and encouraged them to stay active in the political process.
"It's a great day to be a member of the UH System family," Khator told the students. "I was very glad to see the very warm reception we all received on the floor of the House and Senate. While I can tell stories about our students to the legislators, your presence here gives our System lots of credibility and you put a face on the important work we are doing."
State representatives applauded the UH System students in the House chamber after a legislative aide declared Feb. 13 "University of Houston System Day" at the Capitol. The students also interacted with a separate legislative aide who is an alumna of UHD and were photographed with Representative Mary Ann Perez, Representative Armando Walle and Representative Senfronia Thompson.
"We're proud to provide our students with the opportunity to meet state legislators and receive recognition for UHD in both the House and the Senate," said Bill Flores, president of UHD, who also attended the event. "It is an honor for our students to see the legislative process first-hand through this high-impact experience and talk to legislators, all of whom are committed to supporting higher education."
To check out pictures from the trip, click here.