Student Congress

Tanisha Smith, Tyler Harrison, Ruby Kaur, Reba Worthen, Ashley Lawrence and Leslie Beard

Political science students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello won multiple awards as part of a delegation to the recent Arkansas State Student Congress in Little Rock.

The UAM delegation was named the second best college delegation for its performance in all five categories of the competition, which included recognition of Star City junior Tyler Harrison as Best UAM Delegate and third place best college delegate.

Participants included political science majors and minors. Attending the congress were Leslie Beard, a senior from Monticello, Harrison, Ruby Kaur, a sophomore from Greenville, Miss., Ashley Lawrence, a senior from Warren, Sarah Phillips, a junior from Star City, Tanisha Smith, a senior from Crossett, Reba Worthen, a senior from Monticello, and April Wright, a senior from Conway.

The 46-year-old event brought together college and high school students from across the state for a competition in debate, public speaking, political theory, domestic policy and parliamentary procedure. Student Congress occurs over three days in a model congress simulation through campaigning for office, committee work, participating in party caucuses, and floor debate in the State Capitol.

The UAM delegation sponsored two of the few pieces of legislation that became a “Law of Student Congress.” Bill 313, which recommended establishing a universal electronic application process for federal assistance programs to create more accountability and reduce duplicity of services, was sponsored by Ashley Lawrence and Leslie Bread. Bill 310, which recommended independent oversight of the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, was sponsored by Reba Worthen and Harrison. The bills passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate to join other “Laws of Student Congress” to be passed on to the Governor’s office for consideration as actual legislation by the Arkansas General Assembly.

Other UAM students receiving recognition or awards for their work in committees were Worthen, Lawrence and Harrison. Harrison also won recognition for parliamentary procedure while Ruby Kaur, Sarah Phillips, and Tanisha Smith received recognition for their performance in party caucuses, along with Beard, Lawrence, Worthen, and Harrison.

“It’s always wonderful to see how well UAM students compete against other universities in the state,” said Dr. Carol Strong, associate professor and faculty sponsor. “I am extremely pleased with how well this team performed this year and look forward to building on this reputation in years to come.”

The delegation was sponsored by the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, faculty donations, Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and the Southeast Arkansas Cornerstone Coalition.