WSCC Student Presents Proposals to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee
Washington State Community College (WSCC) student Michael Krichten recently presented legislative proposals during an official session of the Ohio Senate Finance Committee. This presentation was part of Krichten's membership on the 2012 Ohio Student Education Policy Institute – a college student advisory board, the first of its kind, with an exclusive opportunity to present their voice to policymakers.
The Student Institute, made up of 35 members from seven Ohio colleges and universities, split into five teams. Working in weekly two-hour sessions from January through April, each team was challenged to come up with a legislative proposal to present to the Ohio Senate. These proposals involved different ways to increase or improve higher education opportunities in the state. "The five teams presented our own proposals to each other and then voted on which two team's ideas would go before an Ohio Senate committee," explains Krichten. "Next, one delegate from each team was chosen for the actual presentation to the senators."
Krichten's team, made up of himself and two students from Ohio University and Ohio University-Eastern, was one of the two teams voted to present, with Krichten ultimately chosen as his team's delegate.
"Our proposal involved tax credits for businesses that send employees to school for further education, for either a certificate or degree," says Krichten. "Its purpose was to encourage businesses to contribute a significant amount of tuition/books cost for the employee."
Krichten presented this idea over April 23rd and 24th to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee in Columbus. "I was nervous, but the whole process was very interesting," says Krichten. "I did a three-minute speech followed by questions from the Committee members – the questions were tough but fair, and gave good feedback and ideas for improving upon our original idea."
Krichten says his team next plans on seeking out assistance from an Ohio representative or senator to tweak their tax credit proposal for a possible future on the floor of the Ohio legislature.
Krichten was chosen to take part in the Student Institute through application and is the first WSCC student to be chosen. Additionally, WSCC is only the second community college to become involved with the Institute. "I hope to help out the College's involvement with the Student Institute next year by encouraging and advising a WSCC student who wants to take part," says Krichten.
The Ohio Student Education Policy Institute is organized by the Ohio College Access Network (OCAN) and in its second year. Students selected to serve with the Institute meet several times over the winter months and early spring, in order to draft a policy or legislative idea(s) to present to the state legislature. The 2012 Student Institute included representatives from: The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Columbus State University, Columbus State Community College, Ohio University, the University of Akron, and Washington State Community College.