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HPU students study advocacy, legislative process at Texas State Capitol

Capitol-2018BROWNWOOD – April 25, 2018 – Fourteen Howard Payne University students recently traveled to the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The travelers, students in Dan Humeniuk’s Social Welfare Programs, Policies and Issues course, are social work and family studies majors who plan to enter careers advocating for and serving society’s marginalized populations.

The students attended a session with representatives from the Christian Life Commission during which they learned about the legislative process and policy initiatives of the commission. While at the Capitol, the students visited with their district representatives to present their concerns regarding payday and car title loans.

“Predatory lending practices such as payday and car title loans are often targeted toward socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals, to the detriment of this already struggling group of people,” said Humeniuk, assistant professor of social work and chair of HPU’s Department of Social Work and Sociology. “In advance of the trip, we studied the social implications of these practices so that students would be well informed when speaking with their district representatives.”

Aryn Morris, senior from Pipe Creek, said she believes everyone who has the opportunity should visit the state capitol.

“It is so beneficial because it teaches and proves that it is not just the people with important titles who are able to make a difference in the world,” she said. “Anyone can go and express their opinions and beliefs to legislators and representatives.”

Lindsey Tumlinson, sophomore from New Braunfels, remarked that the representatives seemed eager to hear from their constituents.

“Not only is it a welcoming place, but our Texas state representatives actually want to hear from us and see us actively involved in the legislative process,” she said. “Citizens have a voice and the representatives want to hear from us.”

In addition to Morris and Tumlinson, HPU students in attendance included Jessica Catlett, senior from Alleyton; Zoe Emley, senior from Natalia; Brooke Gibbs, junior from Fort Worth; Crystal Hernandez, senior from Brownwood; Erin McCleer, junior from San Angelo; Jessica Meeks, junior from Bridgeport; Shelby Nash, senior from Cypress; Lyn Norway, junior from Brownwood; Richard Parmer, junior from Brownwood; Emma Reed, junior from Kennedale; Marina Sheets-Ochoa, junior from El Paso; and Candace Stark, junior from Midland.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2018 semester at Howard Payne University ( HPU offers a variety of financial aid options. For more information about HPU, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Fourteen HPU students recently traveled to the Texas State Capitol to meet with representatives of the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. Back row, left to right: Marina Sheet-Ochoa, Shelby Nash, Zoe Emley, Richard Parmer, Lindsey Tumlinson, Dan Humeniuk and Brooke Gibbs. Middle row, left to right: Jessica Meeks, Erin McCleer, Emma Reed, Aryn Morris and Jessica Catlett. Front row, left to right: Lyn Norway, Candace Stark and Crystal Hernandez.