From the classroom to Carson

2/10/2009 - By: Staff Report

It is possible to have breakfast with a state legislator without donating to a campaign fund.

Today, Feb. 10, 50 to 75 graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Nevada, Reno are traveling to Carson City to meet with legislators over breakfast and discuss issues important to the students. Students will also attend hearings and meetings and take a tour of the Capitol. The trip resulted from a class discussion last fall in an Educational Leadership graduate seminar.

"I took one question very seriously: 'What can you do as an educational leader?'” asked Brandon Knox, a graduate student who has spearheaded the group’s effort. “My goal for this project and future projects is to create an atmosphere within the student body at Nevada that is reflective of active engagement in their community and positive citizenship. I simply can't accept that a very large and influential body would remain detached from a system that determines much about the future of their education, career and freedom. I have seen a lot of activism spring up out of the student body already and I hope to see that become sustained involvement and continue far past this current budget crisis."

The Educational Leadership course was led by Jennifer Mahon, assistant professor in the Teaching & Learning Curriculum. She is amazed with the students’ progress.

“This was not a class assignment,” Mahon explained. “The students do not get any credit for doing this. They just decided that somebody needed to take action, and they realized as people studying to become educational leaders, that somebody was them. I’m really proud of them. They not only got the point of the course, but they put democracy into action. That’s what education’s all about.”

Led by class members Knox and Joel Bolling, the group is forming its own graduate club under ASUN called the Nevada Student Lobby. They have since worked with undergraduate senators to open the opportunity to all students. Other members of the course have worked to secure outside donations of T-shirts and corporate sponsorships to help fund the event.

For more information, contact Brandon Knox, club President at bknox@unr.edu or Jennifer Mahon, club faculty advisor at jmahon@unr.edu. Assistant Professor, Curriculum, Teaching & Learning.


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