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Green River students were best represented school at Olympia rally

Green River students rally in Olympia
Green River students gather on the steps of the state Capitol to protest tuition increases.

On Feb. 1, 2013 the Washington State Capitol rang with the echoes of excited community and technical college students gathered at the 2013 Community College Student Legislative Rally.

These students were literally making their voices heard in a movement to urge Washington politicians to prevent tuition increases and budget cuts to their schools. Students from dozens of colleges traveled hundreds of miles from all across Washington to attend this rally. Green River was by far the best represented college.

"I am here because I'm worried about my future," Green River student Richard Williams said. "If tuition went up, I could not afford to go to school. That is my biggest fear."

Politicians, students, and graduates took the podium to talk about the importance of community and technical colleges. "We are the future, we are the solution," was the battle cry, started by speakers and always finished in a chorus by all those in attendance.

State Sen. Barbara Bailey and state Reps. Larry Seaquist, Chris Reykdal and Norma Smith each took the podium in support of the cause, and a few current students shared their stories as well.

After the rally, Green River students walked across the Capitol campus and met with state Rep. Dave Upthegrove. Upthegrove fielded questions from the students and explained to them that, because of Washington's current fiscal state, "tuition will most likely increase, but the question is, how much?" He explained why, and assured the students that he will work to keep tuition affordable for community colleges.

"A lot of people forget about the community and technological colleges," Green River student Leah Robbins said, "but they are our grassroots."