Lobbying only on U of I Day is not effective change

While we await the results of the student senator and trustee votes, U of I Day is less than a month away, and there’s no better time to talk about lobbying. While our student government will more than adequately represent the student body at the Capitol on April 1, if you really want to be heard, register online and set yourself up to go.

This will be the first U of I Day in which the Alumni Association is partnering with the Illinois Student Senate to have a conjoined event, allowing both alumni and students to go and collectively talk with legislators about how important the University is to them. A lot of students view U of I Day as a time to network and exchange business cards, but we hope students will take it a little more seriously than that – especially this year.

With the economic turmoil our state is in, the University can use all the help it can get, and your support counts. Your words count, even if it’s just for one day.

We’re not saying that U of I Day doesn’t accomplish anything, but if we really want to get things done and if we really want student voices to be heard, it’s going to take a lot more than just one day in Springfield. We hope the new student senators and trustee, whoever they end up being, will understand that and will get more involved with Springfield in general, rather than just waiting for U of I Day each year.

One day of lobbying would be a joke in the real world. Although we’re just students, we need to act seriously if we want to be taken seriously. Either we need more U of I Days, or there needs to be some organizational effort where certain dates and times are set up for students to make phone calls to legislators and local representatives. Even letters could work.

But bombarding Springfield for one day is not going to do the job. Lobbying needs to be continuous in order to be effective. Students power the University, and the University is one of the state’s most valuable assets.

There are students who are interested in lobbying who may not be active in student government. For all we know, they may start coming out of the cracks if such an effort were to be orchestrated. We won’t know until we try.

U of I Day is an opportunity that should be utilized, but we need to continue that effort throughout the year.

To register online, go to http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Invitation.aspx