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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Meeting in the middle: Legislature day for A&M, UT

Jennifer Reiley –– THE BATTALION
Texas A&M Student Body President Kyle Kelly and University of Texas Student Body President Kori Rady visit Austin on Orange and Maroon Legislative Day.
Jennifer Reiley –– THE BATTALION Texas A&M Student Body President Kyle Kelly and University of Texas Student Body President Kori Rady visit Austin on Orange and Maroon Legislative Day.

AUSTIN — The start of a new lobbying season for state funding between Texas A&M and the University of Texas kicked off Wednesday with pleasantries at the annual Orange and Maroon Legislative Day.
A crew of roughly 100 Aggies, including both former and current students, attended OMLD to sit in on legislative sessions and visit with Texas representatives. In the morning, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a resolution officially recognizing the day.
Representative John Raney, Class of 1969 and author of one of the resolutions, said the teaching and research at both universities benefit the state by driving economic prosperity through technology and educating future leaders.
Despite the cordial and at times light-hearted atmosphere, interim A&M President Mark Hussey said the importance of the day could not be forgotten. Hussey said the opportunity for students to interact with legislators gives them the chance to share what A&M means to them.
“That’s the key part because my experience in working with the legislature is when you bring people in who can tell their own stories and tell what something means to them personally, whether it’s a former student telling what A&M has meant for them in their career or a current student being able to talk about the excellence that they’ve been able to experience at A&M, that’s absolutely the very best thing that can happen,” Hussey said.
After both resolutions, visitors met with legislators to discuss the impact both schools have had on them. Hussey said the interactions will include discussion on issues relevant to the universities, such as funding for higher education like the Competitive Knowledge Fund.
Interaction between legislators and students was one of the main messages of the day. Among A&M’s 19 student visitors was Student Body President Kyle Kelly.
“There’s been a trend toward bringing students to the Capitol for this day,” Kelly said. “It started with A&M, they started to bring more students and UT began to pick up on it. When it comes down to it, it’s about the students. It’s about those being educated and those that are becoming active in institutions. It’s a great way to raise awareness and to build relationships.”
Kelly said one issue he wanted to address in funding was tuition and fees.
“We have specific talking points that our Association, Texas Exes and the administration has been working on for months,” Kelly said. “They have to do with mainly funding. We saw a tuition and fee increase at A&M this year. It’s been less of an increase than we’ve seen at other institutions in our state; which I think is extremely positive.”
Kelly said Student Government Association representatives would like to see state funding levels similar to those before 2011.
“We want to keep tuition and fees and costs low for students,” Kelly said. “When there’s less state funding, the university has to pick up the bill. That falls on students and donors.”
Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of the Association of Former Students, said OMLD promotes awareness and communication between the flagship universities and legislators.
“We want to remind elected officials the important contributions that both universities make,” Greenwade said. “We don’t want them to be taken for granted nor have legislators forget the two gems Texas has in these universities.”
On a day filled with news of national signing day, Kelly said it was nice to come together with a common purpose with students and alumni from UT.
“It’s funny that this lands on Signing Day,” Kelly said. “We’ve all been watching the feeds and the recruits that each of us are getting committed to A&M and UT. It’s a fun day because we have a rivalry but then we’ve got a common goal as well.”

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  • Jennifer Reiley –– THE BATTALION Texas A&M Student Body President Kyle Kelly and University of Texas Student Body President Kori Rady visit Austin on Orange and Maroon Legislative Day.

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