On November 2-3, 2021, members of the FSCJ Student Government Association (SGA) attended the Florida College System Student Government Association (FCSSGA) November Advocacy Conference in Tallahassee. This was the first Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) event (other than athletics) to take place in-person since February 2019. Student attendees were able to attend professional development workshops, receive updates on legislative issues that affect Florida College System (FCS) students, and meet with legislators to advocate on behalf of their constituents. FSCJ SGA officers Cornelius Burkins, Luke Elmore, Diana Espinoza Cruz, Breana White and Breona White, as well as FCSSGA State President Robin Price, represented FSCJ well.
As FCSSGA State President, Robin also ran the conference and met with legislators along with members of the FCSSGA State Executive Board to advocate for approximately 700,000 FCS students. Carlo Fassi of The Southern Group, who is filling in for Virginia Berg, set up the meetings for the FSCJ SGA officers to meet with legislators from Duval County and Nassau County as well as help the students along with SGA Advisor Kara Pineiro-Gerbase navigate the Capitol Building to reach their respective meetings. While the FSCJ students were not able to meet with Representative Tracie Davis, Robin Price and members of the FCSSGA State Executive Board ran into her on an elevator in the Capitol Building. This reinforced the message to the students that you never know who you will meet in the Capitol. Prior to meeting with legislators on November 3, the officers and members of the FCSSGA State Executive Board attended a Secondary Education and Career Readiness Committee Meeting in the Knotts Building at the Capitol, where Representative Stan McClain recognized them and students from the Central College of Florida as the meeting began.
Leading up to the FCSSGA November Advocacy Conference, Robin led a virtual FCSSGA Presidents’ Assembly on September 17 with SGA Presidents from across the state voting to determine the planks that make up the 2021-22 FCSSGA Legislative Platform (College Affordability, Funding for Florida College System, Safety and Security, Increase Florida College System Learning Opportunities (Baccalaureate, Associate in Science/Associate in Arts, & Certification Programs), and Social Issues). Robin provided a virtual overview of the bills that fell under each plank. After that, each SGA in the FCS was provided a description of the bills and a polling form to gather feedback from their respective student bodies. On October 20, each SGA in the FCS was provided at least three votes to help determine FCSSGA’s stances on the bills and students virtually voted between October 21-22. With the results of the student voting in hand, Robin virtually met with three legislators (Representative Amber Mariano, Senator Manny Díaz, Representative Chris Latvala) on October 28 to share FCSSGA’s stances and model how to meet with legislators, as the meetings were open to students from across the state to observe.
The 2021-22 FCSSGA Legislative Platform is as follows:
- College Affordability
- FCSSGA supports HB 0045 / SB 554 – Educational Opportunities for Disabled Veterans
- FCSSGA supports HB 0191 / SB 396 – Fee Waivers for Students Living in Recovery Residence
- FCSSGA supports HB 0203 / SB 0304 – Student Fee Exemptions
- Funding for Florida College System
- Safety and Security
- Increase Florida College System Learning Opportunities (Baccalaureate, Associate in Science/Associate in Arts, & Certification Programs)
- Social Issues
- FCSSGA supports HB 81 / SB 0366 - State Renewable Energy Goals
The FCSSGA State Executive Board will now begin planning for the FCSSGA Leadership Conference that will take place in February. In addition to Robin Price, FSCJ also has additional representation on the FCSSGA State Executive Board with Stephanie Castro (FCSSGA Region 1 Advisor), Kurtson Boulware (FCSSGA State Advisor-Elect) and Kerry Roth (FCSSGA State Advisor).
View more photos from their visit below: