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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASA forms lobby group

    Left, Nicole Pasteur and Brandon Bymers, ASA Intern Board members, discuss the state-wide education budget cuts and plan their lobbying efforts to fight them as part of the Arizona Students Association meeting in the SUMC on Thursday.
    Left, Nicole Pasteur and Brandon Bymers, ASA Intern Board members, discuss the state-wide education budget cuts and plan their lobbying efforts to fight them as part of the Arizona Students’ Association meeting in the SUMC on Thursday.

    Arizona Students’ Association held an informational program, Thursday, in the Catalina room of the Student Union Memorial Center for their newest endeavor, Lobby Corps.

    “”The Lobby Corps is a strategic way to mobilize students to have one-on-one interaction with their legislators,”” said ASA Vice Chair Kendal Nystedt said. “”So opposed to a big rally or protest that ASA also does, this is a more intimate environment where you actually get to have your individual voice heard.””

    ASA interns Brandon Bymers, a political science freshman, and Nicole Pasteur, a sociology junior, said the goal of the Lobby Corps is to educate a group of dedicated students who are always ready and willing to lobby for student’s rights.

    “”We want to be able to have a dedicated group of students because these issues are going to keep coming,”” Bymers said. “”We want a group of students who are always on call and ready when these issues affecting our education come up.””

    The idea was developed because of the amount of organizing and work that went into the protest at the capitol earlier in the semester.

    “”The biggest thing that we learned from the protest is that to be able to get as many people as we did, as fast as we had to, was a lot of work,”” Bymers said.

    ASA is the statewide organization that works to voice student concerns to the state legislature, Arizona Board of Regents and university administrations. Nystedt said ASA is fighting for the affordability and accessibility of higher education in the state of Arizona.

    At the beginning of Thursday’s program, ASA Chair Michael Slugocki gave the potential student lobbyists a brief overview of the budget crisis the university is facing.

    “”It’s really easy to just look at a number, for example, $100 million, that’s a lot of money but what does that really mean? It is really important that everyone realize how significant and how deep these cuts are to the university,”” Slugocki said.

    According to Slugocki, the state of Arizona already cut the budget for the statewide university system twice during this fiscal year. The system first absorbed a $60 million decrease, which was followed by a $140 million cut. For the UA this meant a $20 million loss and then another $50 million.

    “”We recognize that the students in our state really want their voices heard,”” Pasteur said. “”We are trying to form a solid group of students who are going to be completely educated on these issues and are going to be able to talk to the representatives about these issues.””

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