Students visit Miss. Capitol for Legislative Day
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 22:03
University of Southern Mississippi students made the trip to Jackson Wednesday for the annual Legislative Day, a paid trip to the Mississippi Capitol to learn more about state government.
The event, which was a joint venture between Student Government Association and The Legacy, lasted from early morning to late afternoon, and included 36 students, many of whom are involved in SGA and The Legacy. Students who participate in the annual trip speak with Mississippi senators and representatives, view legislative debates, tour the Capitol building, and dine with legislators at lunchtime.
Legislative Day is a trip that is intended for any students interested in understanding more about their government.
“The purpose of Legislative Day is to allow the students a chance to interact with legislators who are alumni, and also to visit Jackson and see both the House and Senate in action,” said The Legacy advisor Laurie Benvenutti. Benvenutti said it is one of USM’s wide variety of opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom, and that is why it is such an important event for both The Legacy and SGA.
Several elected officials, all of whom attended USM, spoke with students about their involvement in politics, including Senators John Polk, Billy Hudson and Angela Hill, as well as Representatives Greg Haney, Sherra Lane and Scott Delano. Sen. Polk, a freshman within the Mississippi Senate, spoke of these legislators’ desire to help better their state.
The group first watched both the Senate and House debate and then toured the Capitol building to learn the history of Mississippi’s government. Afterward, students ate lunch with some of the legislators at the Capital Club in downtown Jackson.
While many attended to learn more about state government, some viewed the event as a source of inspiration. Ann Marie Chilcutt, the president-elect of SGA, believes that Legislative Day helped inspire her and other SGA members enormously.
“This experience was good in that I see the importance of having a well-structured cabinet and a well-structured SGA and getting people more involved in government,” Chilcutt said.
Ryan Smith, a freshman computer engineering major from Bogalusa, La., said he appreciated how welcoming the Mississippi legislators were to students but was mostly inspired when Sen. Hill stated how Democrats and Republicans work together for the good of the state.
“There’s this unity for the good of the state, and I think we could all learn from that,” Smith said.