From concurrent enrollment classes to the support for STEM degree programs such as nursing, Redlands Community College students see and appreciate the value of Oklahoma’s investment in higher education. Several of these students visited the Capitol recently for Higher Education Day to meet with legislators and advocate for continued legislative support for Oklahoma’s colleges and universities.
“Higher Education Day at the Capitol is a special event, and it was a wonderful experience taking a group of bright, engaged students to meet with their legislators,” said Redlands Board of Regents Chair Janie Thompson. “We have so many students who come to us with incredible experiences. These young women were an excellent representation of Redlands students.”
The students spent the morning visiting legislators and then spent the afternoon listening to state leaders and college students from each tier of higher education before attending a reception to honor legislators who have shown their support for Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities.
The day was a productive experience for Chyann Emerson, a freshman member of the livestock judging team. “This opportunity allowed me to meet with several legislators and representatives, and advocate for two-year colleges, explaining how vital, impactful, and important they have been for so many students across our state as well as for myself. I am very grateful to be given this opportunity and cannot wait to go back next year.”
Nursing student Amy Clift had the opportunity to visit the capitol for the first time. “I had the best day for my very first time seeing the capitol, and I really enjoyed talking with the state legislators. Oklahoma has so many representatives backing two-year colleges and putting so much effort into supporting education within smaller community colleges, and I really appreciated hearing that from some of our state representatives and senators.”
Redlands students who visited the capitol represent the variety of students who attend the two-year college, including nursing and agriculture students, first-generation college students, and student-athletes. Representing Redlands were Amy Clift, Anadarko; Kaitlynn Runnels, Cache; Merideth Behrens, Colbert; Korali Smith, Kingfisher; Tommi Willey, Minco; and Chyann Emerson, Tuttle.
“Redlands is home to students with varying backgrounds and interests, and at different points in life,” said Redlands President Jack Bryant. “We appreciate the opportunity to share their stories with legislators so that when they are considering legislation that impacts higher education programs and services, they will have a better understanding of who these students are.”