The BJU members of the South Carolina Student Legislature organization recently received three awards at the fall session of legislation, held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, including the Best Mid-Sized Delegation award.
The South Carolina Student Legislature is a student-run mock legislature, according to their website, scstudentlegislature.org. It is comprised of 14 member colleges, including BJU, which send delegates to both the “House of Representatives” and the “Senate” each semester.
Michael Darlin, a senior accounting major, received the Best Senator award for the session. BJU students were also elected to positions in the legislature, which they will hold for a year; Matt Thomas, a junior accounting major, was elected as governor and Stefanie Nifenecker, a senior accounting major, was re-elected as comptroller general.
Two sessions are held per academic year, one each semester. The fall session, which is the main event of the academic year, is held at the South Carolina State House in Columbia each year.
At this session, members of the legislature present various bills that they have been researching and writing during the year. Bill topics range from taxes and education to environment and street laws.
“You want to present a bill that you obviously want to pass, but the whole goal is to present bills that are debatable,” Briley Hughes, a junior communication major, said. “A lot of times we’ll pick topics that are somewhat controversial so that we can have a debate. We don’t want bills that are ‘rocket docket’ or easy to send through.”
BJU’s delegation holds weekly meetings for two months before each session to prepare their bills and discuss topics.
“That’s what’s great about student legislature,” Ben Jeffers, a senior journalism and mass communication major, said. “You get to see what other people think and believe.”
Since the South Carolina Student Legislature contains multiple school delegations, it gives the members of each delegation the opportunity to interact with and get to know others while furthering their knowledge of politics.
“This is the best replication of a real legislature,” Jeffers said. “You see [both sides of politics], and you have to debate, write and communicate well with people. It’s a way to adapt your skills in any major that you have, and you really bond with people. It’s like a family kind of feel.”
To join BJU’s student delegation, prospective members are interviewed between the fall and spring sessions by the delegation’s chairperson, who is also a student at BJU.