First-hand experience offered to students in Honors Government class

First-hand experience offered to students in Honors Government class

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Government students participate in a tour of the State Capital in Austin last week. Photo by Frank Garza

The Honors Texas Government class took a field trip to Austin last Wednesday so that they could see first hand the effects and importance of Texas politics.
“Texas politics isn’t just a bunch of fun and games, at least not for the people having to construct our policies,” said Casey Parlamas, one of the students who went on the trip.
During the two day trip, students visited both the LBJ School of Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin and took a tour of the state capitol.
At UT, the students listened to former state representative Sherri Greenberg speak about the various ways Texas policies affect people’s lives directly, as well as her experience in government.
They also heard Professor Pat Wong, the graduate advisor for Public Affairs, talk about the different ways a student can participate in public policy.
“UT was awesome. There’s so much to do and see in Austin and I hope I’ll get to go again sometime,” said Oscar Montoya, another student who attended the trip.
The capitol welcomed the AMK Honors students with open arms on Thursday, and they were able to meet with many lobbyists who explained what it was they did and a little bit about themselves.
The tour was comprehensive, as the students were able to learn about the history of the building, and even sit in the seats on the house floor. On the house floor, they listened to House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel.
“The most interesting part of the trip was probably seeing the capitol from the inside. Though my view of politics hasn’t changed much, I am much better informed now,” said Emalee Green, who also went on the trip.
The students thoroughly enjoyed their trip, each having nothing but good things to say about the experience. Even Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Director of International Studies, and the Honors Texas Government professor, was impressed.
“There were two primary expectations: one, students be exposed to major policy issues in Texas and the current research in those.  Two, that students learn about Texas’ legislative process from the perspectives of lawmakers, officials of the legislature, and external lobby groups,” Goswami said.
Both expectations were surpassed, Goswami said.