SGA Director of Legislative Affairs Paige Trzaskawka ’23 took the lead in planning the 2021 Tiger Pride Day
As a high school senior, Paige Trzaskawka knew when she stepped on Towson University’s campus, it was where she belonged.
That’s because the Medford, New Jersey, native couldn’t stop imagining possibilities.
“I could see myself sitting in the library, walking through the halls and even walking across the bridge from West Village to main campus,” Trzaskawka says. “I could just sense that I wanted to be here, and I could see myself not only active in academics but also in student organizations.”
One of the first ones she joined was the Student Government Association (SGA). She started on freshmen council and moved up quickly to assistant director of legislative affairs, which fit her academic path.
A double major in political science and communication studies, she got her love of government affairs from her parents, who are involved with politics: her dad on the marketing side and her mom on advocacy.
While political science fit her family background, the more she looked into it, the more she wanted to add a communication studies major. For Trzaskawka, the two really go hand-in-hand.
“I dug through the Towson University course catalogs and went through everything, and I landed on these because I could really do a lot if I had both of these,” she says. “They make me excited to learn. They combine everything I want to do.
“I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve met so many professors who are willing to work with me. They’ve genuinely shown that they care, and they are trying their best, so I’ve been very lucky.”
Starting her sophomore year this past fall, Trzaskawka was excited to take a step up in responsibility with the SGA, being named the director of legislative affairs.
“You're talking to students individually; you're taking about all of these issues that are really personal to people and applying things and actually getting results,” Trzaskawka says.
One of her biggest responsibilities in her new role was planning Tiger Pride Day, the annual event that connects Towson University students with Maryland state legislators.
It’s where her conversations with students really pay off, as the SGA knows what topics need to be discussed when they meet with state officials.
“We get an opportunity to fight for what students really want to see,” she says. “And not only are we getting that opportunity, but we are winning those fights.
“This has been very eye opening and very validating for me because I did come from a very closed-off, small town. I was given the opportunity to grow within the organization but also expand my knowledge about so many student concerns.”
While Tiger Pride Day usually happens in Annapolis, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it took place online in 2021, with students talking to legislators over Zoom.
So instead of repeating the normal planning from the previous year, Trzaskawka had to start from scratch. This included coming up with what bills to talk about, training students how to talk with legislators, getting students signed up, learning how to hold a Zoom event and, most of all, getting legislators to show up.
Through a partnership with the Division of Student Affairs, TU in Northeastern Maryland, the Department of Communication Studies and the Office of Technology Services, the event went off without a hitch, as 130 members of the TU community met with dozens of legislators.
Corey Bailey, director of student activities and the adviser to SGA, was with Trzaskawka every step of the way. Throughout the months of planning, he watched as she found her voice and displayed great leadership skills.
“Her grace, willingness to receive and apply feedback and ability to build relationships with committee members afforded her the opportunities needed to get things done,” Bailey says. “This year presented unique challenges that none of her predecessors experienced, but she displayed great leadership and poise throughout the entire process, which resulted in a very successful Tiger Pride Day.”
While Trzaskawka is humbled by the credit she received, she was quick to point out how it was a team effort by the whole Towson University community.
“The event is a true representation of what the Towson community as a whole wants to see,” she says. “It’s not about me; I’m just a person helping put it together. My job was learning how to communicate those wants and needs into an event and making sure people are getting something out of it.”
Trzaskawka is excited to see what her final two years at TU hold. She hopes to stay involved with SGA. And, after Tiger Pride Day, she was asked if she still loves communicating about legislative policies. The answer was pretty simple.
“I love it even more,” she laughs. “It’s so incredible. You can use legislative affairs to get something done. There is always something to address, but it’s been so incredible to read and understand legislation and get to see how it affects people’s lives.”