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Student Association Leaders Make Their Case to Congressional Leaders in Washington
Seven members of the Syracuse University Student Association were recently in Washington, D.C., to take part in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Student Advocacy Days.
The event, held annually, provides an opportunity for students to learn about federal government issues impacting higher education and meet with policy makers to discuss their views.
The students met and spoke with policy makers from across the political spectrum, including senior staff for U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Reps. John Katko and Anthony Brindisi. The group also had breakfast with distinguished Maxwell School alumna U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala G’70, H’87 in the Capitol.
“I was honored to host Syracuse University student leaders at my office on Capitol Hill, where they made their voices heard on a wide range of issues we face as a nation. It is always a great pleasure to hear from young leaders in New York taking action on topics that they are passionate about,” says Sen. Schumer. “With several SU alumna on my staff, I know first-hand that these students are well equipped to lead in the future.”
“The opinions of college students are important and their voices deserve to be heard in our democracy,” says Rep. Katko. “I was honored to host these Syracuse University student leaders. The conversation covered important local and national issues, including combating sexual assault on campuses, adequate financial aid options for students, the impact of I-81’s replacement on the Syracuse University community and the future of Social Security. I thank them for making the trip to Washington and will consider their concerns as I continue to legislate during the 116th Congress.”
While in Washington, the group also met several Syracuse University alumni, both Democrat and Republican, who hold significant and important congressional senior staff positions. The students used these engagements to ask the staff members about their personal experiences working in Congress and how to be competitive for congressional internship and employment opportunities.
John Jankovic, a junior political science major in the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences, took part in the trip. “Across our advocacy efforts, it was so reassuring to find Syracuse alumni serving in roles that I dream of!” Jankovic says. “This trip reaffirmed my passion for public service and the importance of higher education reform.”
Rebecca Goodsell, also a political science major and program participant, sums up her views on the experience: “As a graduating senior about to enter the job market, the ACC Advocacy Days only reaffirmed my interests in politics and the Hill. I was able to visit D.C. for the first time and see the ins and outs of Capitol Hill thanks to Syracuse University, and I cannot wait to come back!”
Overall topics of discussion ranged from the higher education reauthorization act to student financial aid, higher education opportunity programs, Department of Education proposed Title IX regulation changes, Social Security and immigration reform.
Sarah Li, a junior policy studies and philosophy major in the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences, has a unique perspective on the trip. “As the only international student on this trip, it is very exciting to discuss current policies with U.S. policymakers,” she says. “I was able to understand advocacy and lobbying from a foreign perspective. The ACC trip strengthened my belief in becoming a lawyer and advancing legal systems to benefit citizens globally.”
The trip was organized by the University’s Office of Government Relations and the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience.