A delegation of seven political science majors represented East Central University well at the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature (O.I.L.), held at the Oklahoma State Capitol Building, April 17-21, in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature is a student-run mock government that replicates all three branches of state government in Oklahoma. The seven ECU students were required to write a legislative bill to become eligible to participate in the event.
Carl Lewis, of Ada, was awarded first place for Best Legislation in the Senate, for a bill he wrote expanding the State of Oklahoma’s non-discrimination clause. His bill was passed by both the Senate and the House and was signed by the O.I.L. governor.
“It was a great experience. It was well worth the effort,” said Lewis.
Talon Starkey, of McAlester, and Marsha Coyle, of Yale, also served in the House of Representatives. He was invited to join the exclusive Gentleman’s Caucus and was elected Chair of Delegate Recruitment for Central Oklahoma.
“This made me more excited about education than anything ever has,” Starkey said.
Newakis Girdley, of Ada, served in the Senate and was elected to the Fashion Committee and the Neat and Tidy Committee.
“O.I.L. was one of the most enlightening and eye-opening experiences of my life,” said Girdley.
Coty Dildine, of Ada, also served in the Senate and, as a veteran in the U.S. Army, used his experience to write a bill that would alter how universities disburse Pell Grants and G.I. Bill benefits.
“O.I.L. is a great way for students to see first-hand how legislation and law works at the state level,” Dildine said. “I think that every American citizen should try to serve their government whether that is at the national, state or local level.”
Tarron Vogt, of Ada, was a media representative responsible for publishing the O.I.L. Reporter. She took photographs throughout the session and wrote a front-page article about Lewis’ winning legislation.
ECU’s faculty sponsor for O.I.L. is Dr. Charles Peaden. The ECU delegation chair was Wesley Robertson, of Ada, who also served in the House of Representatives.