By: Lanetra Bennett
March 7, 2013
Nearly 400 students from Florida's state and community colleges rallied on the steps of the old capitol building Thursday morning.
Student leaders made the annual visit to advocate for the legislative issues most important to them.
The rally was held by the Florida College System Student Government Association (FCSSGA.)
The student leaders say they represent one million students who are in the state's 28 state and community colleges. So, they wanted to make sure their voices were heard.
Rep. Shevrin Jones was the keynote speaker at the rally. He says, "Every generation has had their fight; whether it was for civil rights, whether it was for women's rights or even equality. But, you stand here and can go down in history that you stood for a cause that was greater and bigger than you."
That cause is serving as a voice for Florida's state and community college students.
Students with the Florida College System Student Government Association rallied at the old Capitol Thursday.
Rep. Jones says, "Your children's children, they are depending and they are counting on you."
The student leaders want legislators to allow all military veterans to attend any state or community college at in-state tuition costs.
FCSSGA President Jared Ferreira says, "Not only are our veterans important and we really need to take care of them because they put their lives up for our country. But, it's going to bring a class of citizens to our state that are productive; bringing their families with them. They're going to settle here and it's going to help improve our state overall."
The other issues are: providing dual enrollment students the opportunity to graduate at an earlier date; providing an easier transition from a community or state college to a university; and provide a student voice on the Community and State Colleges Board of Trustees.
"Having a student there that's able to speak and articulate well on behalf of us is very important." Ferreira Says.
The group says it wants to work with lawmakers to develop ideas and plans over time. After the rally, some of the students spoke with representatives individually.
Press Release: Florida College System Student Government Association
On March 6-7, nearly 400 student leaders from our 28 state and community colleges will be gathered in Tallahassee for the Florida College System Student Government Association (FCSSGA) Rally in Tallahassee.
FCSSGA will be having their annual visits to Tallahassee where our student leaders will advocate for the legislative issues that were voted in. They will be meeting with State Senators and State Representatives to lobby for a solution. We will be holding a rally at the Old Capitol along with a press conference to promote these legislative issues.
These students will be serving as a voice for their students as they make decisions on behalf of their campus constituents.
These legislative issues consist of: student appointment on the board of trustees, reallocating dual enrollment funding, keeping prerequisites for all Florida universities/colleges the same, and veteran in-state residency.
These issues will provide a student voice on the Community and State Colleges Board of Trustees, provide dual enrollment students the opportunity to graduate at an earlier date, provide an easier transition from a community or state college to a university, provide the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to achieve a higher level of education, and provide veterans with the opportunity of attending any state or community college at in-state costs. Students will be able to share opinions on board of trustee matters and we will see less confusion in the transfer process from a state/community college to a university.
One of our recently passed issues was having textbook names and prices posted 30 days prior to the start of class so that students can have options when it comes to purchasing their textbook. Students would also be aware of the cost of their textbooks in advance so they do not have to experience any financial burdens. This issue also requires policies to help minimize textbook costs to the students.
Just recently on February 20, our State President, Jared Ferreira was asked to speak at the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee on Education. Below is a link where you can see his testimony:
The Florida College System Student Government Association was established 54 years ago in 1958 in St. Petersburg by Pensacola State College, Gulf Coast Community College, Chipola Community College, Palm Beach Community College, and their host, St. Petersburg College. Congress has recognized us for our outstanding dedication to the students. We gather the concerns and opinions of students at our 28 state and community colleges, along with providing a forum for our Student Government Associations to share solutions to issues. We also represent the interests and act as a voice for nearly 1.3 million college students in Florida. We meet regularly throughout the year to network and remain up to date as issues develop.
For more information on the Florida College System Student Government Association, please visit www.fcssga.org