A contingent of Kansas University students spent the day in Topeka Tuesday advocating for higher education issues with lawmakers.
Members of KU's Student Senate joined students from other Kansas Board of Regents universities traveling to the capital as part of Higher Education Day.
On behalf of their student bodies, the delegation is calling for lawmakers to eliminate sales taxes on textbooks as well as discuss higher education funding.
Marcus Tetwiler, KU student body president, said in a release that getting rid of sales taxes on text books would "help alleviate these rising costs" of textbooks and decrease the overall cost of education.
Eric Hurtt, a KU senior in political science and government relations director for the Senate, helped coordinate meetings and events.
While student delegations have traveled to Topeka to talk with lawmakers before, Hurtt said he thought this year's student delegation had better talking points.
"This year we're picking things where we all have skin in the game," he said. "You get a better seat at the table if you pick issues we can actually do something about."
Leobardo Espinoza Jr. is a high-school senior in Topeka and is preparing to be a first-generation college student in his family, helped by a school program adopted a few years back especially for students in just such a situation. That alone makes his college choice pretty interesting, but there's also the fact that he's one of eight high schoolers blogging about their college choice process for the New York Times this school year.
Making that even more interesting for our purposes is that one of the schools he's considering is KU, so this should present an interesting opportunity to see why KU does or doesn't appear to be the right fit for at least one student (a pretty bright one, if his entries are any indication).
In an entry from last week, he mentions two schools he's visited: KU, which he says is 20 minutes form his home, and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Me., a liberal-arts college with about 1,800 students some 1,500 miles away.
The two schools present marked contrasts on two issues about which he's conflicted: the size of the campus, and proximity to his home.
Improving recruitment is a big focus for KU right now, and this could be an interesting glimpse at how the university presents itself to a prospective student. Or, perhaps he'll just decide he doesn't want to live in Kansas anymore. We'll see.