Lobbying Through Keg Parties

Students at UGA intend to start lobbying the legislature. This could be fun.

Student leaders at the University of Georgia are organizing a lobby board to put pressure on state lawmakers about student-related issues for the upcoming legislative session.

The group plans to focus its efforts on keeping track of possible changes to the HOPE Scholarship and asking legislators to make textbooks tax-free items, said Student Government Association representative Alli O’Callaghan.

The question is: will this be effective? Afterall, college students are the least likely voters to actually vote. And they don’t have a lot of money other than student fees and its dubious whether it would be proper to spend student activities fees to lobby legislators.

14 comments

  1. Ben Marshall says:

    I don’t know about the effectiveness, but at least they are trying. The universities, their presidents, and their lobbyists don’t represent the interests of the students. They certainly haven’t in the past. At least they are trying to have a voice rather than sit idle like most SGA’s and let the legislature do as they wish.

    Actually, I take it back, it might be effective because past SGA presidents at UGA have lobbied hard at the legislature and with the BOR and I think their efforts could have been considered a part of the success, such as the past furor over mid-year tuition hikes.

    If they do this, maybe the rest of the SGA’s in the state will participate, and then maybe some of the interests of the students, particularly concerning Hope Scholarship, will be addressed and considered.

  2. Know Nothing says:

    Erick-

    You’ve gotten the concept of the board wrong. In an email the UGA SGA sent out this week, the true purpose of the board is written:

    “The Student Lobby Board will inform and organize students to facilitate their contact with State Legislators on issues of concern for students.”

    So really the SGA is looking for people to send letters and make phone calls to their representatives. This is what they mean by lobbying. SGA will not be using student funds to take lawmakers out to posh dinners.

  3. Fogle says:

    “The question is: will this be effective? Afterall, college students are the least likely voters to actually vote. ”

    Well said. When college students start voting, then legislators will start working on post-secondary education issues/reform. Until then, why bother?

  4. Romegaguy says:

    Dont say Keg party. President Adams feels if you deny something exists then it doesnt exist. Kinda like when Atlanta changed the name of Stewart Ave thinking that criminals would get lost looking for Stewart Ave on the street signs…

  5. CHelf says:

    Erick,

    I like your last sentences…this is a good testament to what government has become. If you don’t have money, power, and influence, your efforts to reach legislators is severely diminished. This basically means legislators are controlled by money and larger interests rather than the people who elected them. I know this sounds populist but at the same time it is an arrogant use of power to basically relegate to a second or lower tier anyone who doesn’t toss some money in the pot.

  6. UGAMatthew says:

    Hey guys,
    It’s me again…Just to give you the skinny. And Bill listen up, Georgia Tech has had a student lobby board fro a while now and as of late, we’ve (UGA SGA) have been back and forth with them. They have a good thing going. And we’re going to take their lead.

    The SLB will focus on engaging students to lobby thier representatives directly.

    “When a major issue affecting students is ready to be considered in the legislature, we will ask you to contact your State Legislator to lobby on our students behalf. We will provide you with background information, a sample email, letter or phone script, and your State Legislator’s contact information.”

    However, we also do plan to make several trips to the Capitol to meet with legislators regarding these issues.

    But KnowNothing has it right…no posh dinners or even Wendy’s coming from SGA. We hope to continue to build relationships with the General Assembly, as we’ve done in the past.

    And one lats point about effectiveness. We’ve (SGA’s) have been rather effective once united…convinced the Governor to knock about 20 mil off his budget cut to higher ed. a few years back.

  7. atlantaman says:

    This is what I don’t understand: UGA is more difficult to get into then it ever has been and yet you’ve got students whining about their “issues”. I think some of these students should retake Econ 101 and realize there is a lot more demand for an UGA education then there is supply.

    It’s hard to take many of the complaints seriously when you’ve got High School graduates with 3.8 GPA’s who can’t get in. In short if you don’t like UGA then attend Georgia Southern, Kennesaw, etc..

    What is the jist of the complaints? “It’s too expensive or my HOPE scholarship doesn’t pay for everything and I might actually have to get a job and pay for some of my education.”

    Well if it’s too expensive then attend a local college and let someone else goto UGA, there are literally thousands of students who would gladly take your place.

  8. UGAMatthew says:

    atlanatman,

    We’re lobbying on the behalf of students in general as well as UGA students. When we “don’t like UGA” we go to the administration, not the legislature. When we want be a part of any changes to the HOPE scholarship, we go to the legislature.

    It seems as if you’d fare well to retake Political Science 101. We’re a student government and its our job to advocate on behalf of our constiutency. This isn’t going to be a complain and whine board, as you’ve assumed.

    This is a way for students to stay educated about issues that may effect them; statewide and otherwise. And then have the means to be a part of the process.

  9. Fogle says:

    “If you don’t have money, power, and influence, your efforts to reach legislators is severely diminished. This basically means legislators are controlled by money and larger interests rather than the people who elected them.”

    Can somebody say “populist?” Seriously, get a clue.

    Why in the world would elected officials waste valuable resources catoring to a group of indiviuals who won’t even take an hour out of their day once a year in November (hell, once every two or even four years would probably suffice)?

    It’s pointless and moreover, impractical. Maybe it’s just the pragmatist in me, but if the “poor, downtrodden, powerless” college community (which, by the way, I am a part of until December) wanted things to change, then they would vote. In a democratic republic, THAT IS POWER.

    You can piss and moan all day long but if you don’t actually get out and vote, then NOBODY WILL LISTEN.

    Give up the populist rag and be real, CHelf.

  10. Ben Marshall says:

    Atlantaman,

    you are totally mis-interpreting what is going on, ass pointed out by UGAMatthew. No one is complaining about the fact college is expensive. Trying to understand what is being talked about before you ridicule it.

    When things like cuts to Hope Scholarship, Higher Ed budget cuts, and mid-year tuition hikes are proposed, those are things that directly involve students, but the universities don’t lobby on behalf of students. Instead you had Mike Adams supporting mid year tuition hikes and cuts to Hope Scholarship.

    Therefore, SGA’s like this one at UGA are involving themselves in the state government so that students will have a voice and so that their opinion will be known and heard.

    Things like that effect all students at every school, not just UGA. Tech and UGA are just taking the lead, and I think it is a great thing.

  11. CHelf says:

    Fogle are you saying that listening to constitutents, you know doing their job (imagine that), is wasting valuable resources? Please enlighten us what valuable resources are exactly wasted in doing their job. And who’s resources are they wasting?

    Why don’t you get a clue and not stereotype all college students as people who don’t vote. Why don’t you also get a clue and tell me where it is etched in stone where a legislator has to check someone’s voting record to be heard.

    I love your assumption that every one of these people are non-voting deadbeats. Since you say you are in this community, I guess we should follow your advice and ignore your whining on here as well.

  12. atlantaman says:

    “This is a way for students to stay educated about issues that may effect them; statewide and otherwise. And then have the means to be a part of the process.”

    Fair enough, although I still believe it’s a bit on the idealistic side…but then again that’s what college is for. It’s probably a great civics lesson. I’ve got a feeling that if the Legislature makes changes in your favor it won’t be due to your lobbying, since college kids generally don’t vote, it will be because they are afraid of upsetting the parents of the kids…who do vote.

  13. Sprucetree says:

    It is difficult enough for college kids to attend class, do you really think they would take time to vote. Besides, they would never sacrifice their precious Jager Bomb (sorry Mike) money to donate to campaigns. However, here is the truth … voting is irrational. If you disagree, research step-good games and the rational voter theory. Therefore, in reality it would probably be better to let the polis act irrationally and build your own city.

  14. UGAMatthew says:

    Sprucetree…

    You cannot generalize that voting is irrational. The rationale to vote is individualistic, you can run all the research and studies you wish, however, you can generalize and put forth that voting is irrtational. I will grant you that in some cases it it irrational for someone to vote…I took a pol. sci. course too, you’re not the only one.

    However, its ludicrous to say that voting is wholisitically irrational.

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