A delegation of seven TU students traveled to Oklahoma City, Okla., on March 31-April 2 to participate in a statewide collegiate competition in the Capitol Building. In TU’s first session back with Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature (OIL) in several years, they managed to win four awards.
OIL brought together almost 200 students from 13 universities in a four-part competition over five days in the state’s capitol. The students competed in the two legislative chambers (The Senate and The House of Representatives), a journalism competition and a moot court competition. TU sent three senators: Melanie Cummings, who won Runner-Up for best Freshman Senator, Miranda Dabney, who earned an Honorable Mention for Best Freshman Senator, and Jennifer Waters; four representatives: Lincoln Brown, Shellby Branch, Steve Neal and Anna Shauchuk; and two journalism competitors: Shelby Branch and Dabney, who won 2nd Runner-Up in the journalism competition.
The legislative branches met each day from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., introducing, amending and debating legislation written by the student representatives. Cummings and Waters wrote a piece of legislation on STEM education in Oklahoma high schools which passed in the Senate, but did not make it to the House because of time constraints. Dabney wrote a light-hearted bill changing the official state vegetable from watermelon to corn, but the bill did not make it to the floor because of time restraints.
Cummings was nominated for and eventually won the position of Fashion Committee Chair, responsible for holding delegates to the Senate dress code and recognizing those who went above and beyond in their appearance each day. Dabney served as a member of the Sunshine Committee, helping to raise money from the delegates to provide snacks and lunches during the 12-hour days at the capitol.
Delegation Chair Cummings worked hard to recruit and prepare TU’s delegation on a short timeline. The organization was chartered by the Student Association just two weeks before registration for OIL’s spring session closed. Now that the organization has one session under their belts, they plan to bring a full delegation to the fall session. With two officers graduating, Cummings and Dabney, TU OIL will be looking for up-and-coming leaders on campus with a passion for government involvement to strengthen the organization through its inaugural year and maintain a campus presence for the future.