Students from 14 colleges, including Lander University, gathered in Columbia recently to participate in the South Carolina Student Legislature (SCSL), an exercise that mirrored the work of the General Assembly. The students actually occupied the House and Senate chambers where they took part in sometimes spirited debate on a range of proposed legislation.
Dr. Chad Kinsella, associate professor of political science at Lander, said the event is held twice a year and is student-driven. Eight students from Lander took part: political science majors Conner Lewis, of Greenwood; Aaron Talmage, of Piedmont; Tanisha Elder, of Columbia; Kierra Brown, of North Charleston; Jamison Nicklaus, of Simpsonville; Shaleesha Frierson, of Florence; Jennifer Novembre, of Columbia.; and Kim Modica, of Waterloo, a history major.
Kinsella said the students were highly motivated and interested, and he was pleased with the number who volunteered to attend. Before going to Columbia, they met as a group to draw up legislation and negotiated with students from Anderson University and Erskine College for help in getting bills out of committee.
He said the students agreed that it was a great experience. “They told of having met different people who took the mock legislature very seriously, and they learned a lot.” He added that they have begun encouraging classmates to consider going to the next student legislative event, which will be held in Myrtle Beach.
SCSL was founded in 1956 and it is run by students. Its mission is to educate students about the functions of democratic government and provide a forum for them to debate public policy issues.