February 5, 2013, marked the annual Minnesota Career College Association (MCCA) Hill Day at the Capitol. The purpose of Hill Day is for representatives from MCCA schools to educate legislators on the importance of supporting student access and choice in all areas of higher education as well as communicating the value and role of career colleges in providing education to Minnesota students.
Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center views this event as an imperative one to attend and attempts each year to bring a large group. This year, 17 students and six faculty/staff members made the trip to St. Paul.
To put a twist on the typical Hill Day event, the students had the opportunity and privilege to begin their day at the Minnesota Supreme Court. Due to a packed courtroom upon arrival, a few students were able to catch the end of a case that has received national attention (Robert McCaughtry, et al., Appellants vs. City of Red Wing, Respondent), and when that case ended, all 17 students sat in on a case dealing with zoning approvals for a building in Minneapolis (500, LLC, Appellant vs. City of Minneapolis, Respondent).
Following the court case, students and staff took a short tour of the Capitol given by Thomas Kosel, director of government relations for Globe University/Minnesota School of Business.
The first legislative visit was with Senator Chris Eaton in the Senate conference room in the Capitol. Four students took the time to give Senator Eaton testimonials as to why they chose to attend Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center. A common theme among the testimonials were small class sizes, caring instructors and staff, and flexibility with class schedules.
A handful of the students live in the city of Brooklyn Center, which made the visit especially meaningful for them in knowing that their votes helped to reelect Senator Eaton into her current seat.
The second legislative visit was with Representative Debra Hilstrom in the State Office Building. Students had the opportunity to not only learn about Representative Hilstrom’s time in office, but she also took time to answer questions about being a prosecutor in the legal system. Several criminal justice and paralegal students were in attendance, and they took full advantage of the question/answer session.
Nancy Chrisel, legal administrative assistant student, said, “I was very excited to go to Hill Day and visit the State Capitol for my first time. Seeing the Minnesota Supreme Court in action was especially an interest of mine, and I felt it was very informative and enlightening to see them in action! I also enjoyed meeting Representative Hilstrom! She was very friendly and interesting to listen to. Overall, I felt this experience is one that I will not forget!”
Jamie St. Hilaire, medical assistant student, had similar reactions. “The visit to the Capitol for Hill Day was a very interesting experience for me,” she said. “I was able to experience things many people have not had the opportunity to do, like sitting in on a Supreme Court case. However, the most interesting part of the day for me came when we met with Representative Hilstrom. She was very welcoming, warm, and was willing to speak with us for as long as we wanted. She discussed her job as a prosecutor, as well as some of the in’s and out’s of the legal process from her stand point. I think that everyone left her office with a very good impression of one of the local representatives; we really felt like she meant what she said when she let us know we could contact her any time with questions or concerns.”
The day was a huge success for students and staff from the Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center campus. Michael Zdychnec, executive program chair for health care management, summed up the day by saying, “Hill Day is an exceptional experience for the students. Not only do they learn how to communicate effectively with their legislators, but they can actually experience where laws are enacted, interpreted, and administered as they become more informed citizens in our community today.”
We look forward to Hill Day 2014!