Students visit DC to lobby Congress
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Student Trustee Jamaal Hollins and a select group of students journeyed to Washington D.C. to lobby members of Congress, on behalf of UIS students.
“The purpose of this trip was to lobby to members of Congress on important issues that affect college students as well as advocate some of the strengths that the UIS campus has to offer,” Hollins said.
Participating in the trip were Aaron Mulvey, senior, president of the SGA; Paige Heiser, senior, SGA senator for the college of business and management; Will Newton, sophomore, senator-at-large; and Katie Reynolds, senior, senator of liberal arts and sciences.
The five met with House members Robin Kelly, Adam Kinzinger, Aaron Schock, Rodney Davis, Bobby Rush, and Cheri Bustos, and spoke on matters within student financial aid programs.
“We encouraged members to continue to support such important programs that have had such an impact on so many students at UIS,” said Hollins. “We also talked to members regarding college costs and the need for there to be action taken nationally on the rising college costs.”
Hollins added, “This trip is important because not only do students get the opportunity to meet with members of Congress about issues facings students, but it continues to put UIS on the map at a national level.”
Of the representatives, Bobby Rush and Robin Kelly, both Chicago representatives, were on the top of their list to speak with, as 41 percent of UIS students are from the Chicagoland area.
Mulvey believes the trip showed UIS cares about its students. “We are students advocating for higher education,” he said.
In addition to lobbying for financial aid programs and college costs, the student representatives spoke on behalf of UIS programs and their impacts on students.
Hollins explained that they discussed the UIS computer science program’s cyber security training efforts, as well as “advocated the Necessary Steps mentoring program.”
This was the second year UIS participated in the trip – alongside UIUC and UIC.
Edward Wojcicki, associate chancellor for constituent relations, said Hollins did not choose the representatives alone. Hollins consulted the U of I federal relations representatives in D.C., as well as Wojcicki himself.
Wojcicki explained that the D.C. trip was for “SGA members. Those students come first on our list.” The SGA representatives were chosen by students and in this, students have a voice in who represents UIS.
“One of the major factors is ensuring… geographic diversity when it comes to congressional districts around state,” said Hollins.
Wojcicki said this selection of students “contributes to the overall success” of the university.