Recently, the Minnesota Career College Association (MCCA) held its annual Hill Day at the Capital. What is Hill Day, and why should students attend?
Hill Day is an annual event that allows those representing MCCA schools to communicate with legislators the importance of student access and choice in all areas of higher education in addition to educating those individuals on the value and role that career colleges have for students in Minnesota.
While the day is certainly meant to be educational for the legislators, the activities held are also meant to benefit the students, graduates, faculty/staff and employers who attend.
This year’s visit was considered a success by the group of four who represented the Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center campus: Diana Igo, campus director; Michelle Barsness, community manager; Michael Ullmer, criminal justice student; and Joe Junkers, business management student. The morning began with an orientation for the group with tips on how to effectively deliver a message to legislators and was followed by a welcome from both Representative Tama Theis, who serves on the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee, as well as Tricia Grimes, who works for the Office of Higher Education in Research and Policy.
Next on the agenda was a short self-guided tour of the Capitol. The group was not able to peek into every nook and cranny because legislature was in session; however, they were able to see the key areas such as the Governor’s reception room and the chambers of the Senate, House of Representatives, and Supreme Court. The foursome even watched a safety committee hearing for a short while.
After the tour, the group made its way to Representative Debra Hilstrom’s office in the State Office Building. Ullmer and Junkers shared with her their journeys to becoming students at MSB-Brooklyn Center, what they enjoy about the school, and their aspirations for after graduation. Representative Hilstrom was receptive to learning more about the campus and who MSB is as an institution.
The second visit was with Senator Chris Eaton and most definitely short and sweet! As all of those in the House and Senate are extremely busy this session, the four met with Senator Eaton as she walked from her office to a committee meeting. Just like with Representative Hilstrom, Ullmer and Junkers briefly shared information about themselves and why a career college was the right fit for them.
While it was unfortunate that the visit was so short, it was a fun experience to have a “walking” meeting with her and to share in the busyness of politics. Ullmer said, “This was my first time participating in Hill Day. For me, this was not only an eye opening experience but a very educational one. I was able to sit down with elected officials, and it was really fun and surprising to see how normal they really are. They do care about both the educational experience and why we chose the schools we did.”
Junkers shared, “I found the trip very educational, entertaining, and very relevant to current events. It was thrilling to experience news as it happened as we sat in on a committee meeting that was later a story on channel 9 news.
Senator Eaton and Representative Hilstrom were very gracious to listen to our own unique stories on why MSB was the right college choice for us. They are role models for servant leadership that as students and professionals we can all try to emulate. Thank you to both Michael and Joe for sharing the day with us at the Capital! If you are interested in attending next year’s Hill Day, please watch for emails next January.