Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 7, 2011

College delegations transform Frostburg into Annapolis

Acting as members of General Assembly, legislation debated, voted upon through group’s Leadership Training Institute

FROSTBURG — More than 40 collegians from across the state traveled to Frostburg State University over the weekend, assuming the roles of lawmakers for the Maryland Student Legislature’s Spring 2011 Leadership Training Institute/Interim Assembly.

“Basically what we do here is write legislation and we debate it,” said Pamela Schrenk, vice president of the delegation from St. Mary’s College.

According to the MSL online source, in addition to FSU and St. Mary’s, the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Goucher College, Hood College, McDaniel College, Salisbury University, St. John’s College, University of Baltimore, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Maryland College Park all have delegations.

The groups meet several times a year and each delegation creates legislation members believe should be in place in Maryland. They debate and vote on all of the bills put forth at meetings like the one held at FSU and then present the passed legislation to the official Maryland General Assembly.

“The setup is exactly that of the Maryland legislature,” said Schrenk.

Two McDaniel College representatives, Rachele Fortier and Thomas Nelson, portraying the speaker of the House and lieutenant governor, respectively, said that they are both political science majors, which was a large reason they decided to join MSL. Both Nelson and Fortier have also been involved with groups like Model UN and feel that it is a good networking tool.

“(It provides) a better awareness of the political process,” said Thomas.

During Sunday afternoon’s session of the mock House and Senate proceedings, Letia Stanley, treasurer of the FSU delegation, debated with a representative from University of Maryland College Park on the feasibility of raising college students’ activity fees. Stanley said that they are a very active group and met once a week to discuss legislation and bills.

Devon Hill, also of the FSU delegation, said the weekend session was his first and that he got involved after interning in Annapolis at the General Assembly. Hill is in his last semester at FSU and is hoping to attend graduate school and work on Capitol Hill.

“I think this definitely helps,” said Hill of the proceedings and in reference to his future plans.

Emily Newman can be contacted at enewman@times-news.com.

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