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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Student leaders lobby for AZ bills

Several Associated Students of the University of Arizona senators made it to their weekly meeting after returning from a busy day lobbying at the state capitol.

ASUA President Chris Nagata spent the day in Phoenix, along with Sens. Katherine Weingartner, Hilary Davidson, Leo Yamaguchi and Executive Vice President Emily Fritze.

All three state universities participated in the annual event known as Lobby Day. More than 100 student representatives were there to talk to state lawmakers. The Arizona Students’ Association was also there lobbying for three initiatives: a common course-numbering bill, a work-study bill and a voter access bill.

The common course bill met with unanimous support in the State Senate, and is now headed to the House, Nagata said. If passed, the bill would mandate a state standard for numbering courses, preventing students from having to repeat courses that don’t transfer.

The work-study bill, if passed, will open up more employment and financial aid opportunities for students.

The voter-access bill is designed to give students the same opportunities faculty and other university employees receive on voting days. If passed, students would be excused from class to vote, without getting penalized.

Weingartner said she enjoyed meeting the legislators and touring the capital at her first Lobby Day.

“”It was really nice to meet the person who represents me,”” she said. “”A lot of them have wonderful diverse personalities and they love students.””

In the wake of the poor economic climate, Nagata announced that ASUA has partnered with ASA to host a free financial aid workshop today from 5 to 6 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center Room 125. The workshop will inform students about several available financial aid opportunities.

“”We really want to make sure we’re giving students as much access and information as possible,”” Nagata said.

During the workshop, students will learn how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. They will also receive information about applying for other loans and grant money. 

ASUA and ASA plan to host several similar workshops throughout the semester.

A presentation hosted by Lon Huber, chairman from the independent organization Students Advancing Green Enterprises, was met with some hesitation from the ASUA senate.

Huber met the senate with an update and summary on the sustainability fee proposed by UA President Robert Shelton. If the Arizona Board of Regents approves the fee, students would be required to pay $12 per semester.

Fritze noted that the UA can’t keep pushing back green initiatives but wondered if now was the best time to implement more fees.

Huber assured the senate that based on a survey of 1,000 random students, an overwhelming majority supported a sustainability fee. Students do not currently pay a sustainability fee but Huber said it is now more important than ever to begin building energy-efficient projects on the UA campus.

“”It will benefit everybody and help us meet our climate commitments of eventually getting to a zero-carbon state,”” Huber said.

Sen. Tyler Quillin was curious whether the $12 fee would be enough to cover the high cost of sustainability initiatives.

Huber said the fee will pay for itself with the money that the university saves. These funds would eventually go back to students.

“”I think it’s one of the bright spots in Shelton’s proposal,”” Huber said. “”We can leverage that money to make more partnerships.””

Fritze also announced that the Spring Break Safety Fair is scheduled for March 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the UA Mall abd mentioned that Spring Fling kicks off March 8 and runs through March 11.

If you go: Free Financial Aid Workshop from 5 to 6 p.m. or 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in ILC Room 125. 

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