One slogan that Texas Woman’s University lives by is to “learn by doing.” Whether through classes or through student organizations, I have seen TWU’s continuous effort to engage students in hands-on experience in order to enhance their educations. One of these real-world experiences that TWU offers to students every year is TWU’s Day at the Capitol.
I had the incredible opportunity to join a delegation of students and travel to the Texas State Capitol with TWU. When I first received the invitation to join the delegation, I was hesitant to say yes. My first thought was “Why me?”]
I knew very little about how legislation worked and could only remember a remnant of what I learned from my government classes at best. Therefore, going on a trip dedicated to talking to legislators intimidated me to no end, because I felt like I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
However, after much consideration, I accepted the invitation. I figured that there was no better way to learn about how our legislation operates than to dive right into the heart of it all- the State Capitol.
After a couple of meetings concerning the logistics of what would happen when we talked to the legislators and what was expected of us, I felt a bit better about what I was doing, but still a bit lost on the politics of it all.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, I boarded the fancy charter bus, which was equipped with wifi and everything, along with several other students to head out to Austin for TWU Day at the Capitol. As I sat and watched the scenery go by, I grew more and more excited about getting to meet real live representatives.
After a four-hour long drive, we finally arrived at our hotel in Austin, where we had a brief amount of time to take a quick nap and freshen up before departing for dinner with the Chancellor at the University of Texas. During the scrumptious dinner, we were split into groups and given schedules of meeting times with legislators.
The next morning at 7 a.m sharp, we loaded the bus once again to begin our Day at the Capitol. I had never been to Austin, let alone the Capitol, so I was elated to finally experience what could be said to be the heart of Texas. As soon as the Capitol came into to view, I was entranced. It just seemed so big and grandiose. Then, we walked into the rotunda, and my breath was taken away.
Throughout the rest of the day, my group and I talked to several representatives, sat in on hearings and were even recognized on the House and Senate floors. I learned that legislators love talking to citizens about their concerns and are incredibly friendly people. I found myself doing something I never thought I would- thoroughly enjoying government matters and pushing an agenda to legislators. By the time the day was done, I felt like I knew a lot more about how our government ran, because I had personally experienced it.