Members of student government laid out the main priorities they want to lobby for at the state level, including housing and better financial aid, during a meeting Monday.
The Legislative Affairs Committee meeting mainly focused on brainstorming ideas on what student issues to bring forth to legislators this coming year.
Ideas discussed by the committee ranged from the way academic misconduct is reviewed to the sustainability of college campus buildings.
Also raised was the possibility of lobbying for tenant rights, as members agreed that housing is a human right for everyone.
The current agenda is set to include college affordability with tuition being tied to the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant, more work-study as a form of financial aid and addressing of the responsible action policy.
The current responsible action policy at the University of Wisconsin lets students call 911 to help someone they feel may be suffering from alcohol poisoning without fearing punishment, according to a statement from UW issued earlier this year.
Responsible action at a statewide level is one issue committee chair Hannah Somers expressed excitement about.
“It’s kind of cool because responsible action is kind of out of nowhere,” she said.
College affordability was the second most supported idea, due to concerns over the slow rise in tuition.
Rep. Lauren Simanovsky said this was a concern she understood all too well.
“[College affordability is] something that regardless will affect you,” she said.
Financial aid through work-study was the final issue mentioned, but garnered enough votes to be an idea which will be lobbied for.
Following Minnesota’s example of a state-funded work study program to employ those with financial needs, committee member Sam Seering said this issue should be brought up on state level.
“There currently is federal work study [in Minnesota],” Seering said. “The federal government gives the money to the university to employ students who have financial needs.”
Somers also touched on voter ID, a topic which has been circulating in the committee for some time.
She said the university had decided to make voting identification cards as a second Wiscard rather than tamper with the current ones students possess.
She also referenced the vote coalitions week coming up. The Voter Coalition’s goal is to inform students on the changes happening in voting laws and to get people to think about how to vote in the upcoming elections in general, Somers said.
The coalition’s kickoff meeting will be held in the Legislative Affairs room at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Somers said they hope to get a political science professor to come and speak on the voting changes.
In addition, Rep. Libby Wick-Bander introduced a topic pertaining to financial aid she happened upon after reading a front-page article in the weekend paper.
“People who need financial aid more aren’t getting the money they need because it is going to [lure] wealthy families to come and spend money at the universities,” she said. “It’s being spread out among people who don’t need it.”
Wick-Bander added although she was not sure if this was a problem at UW, she wanted to make sure this was on the committee’s radar.
Other subjects touched on briefly were the Mifflin Survey Analysis and the Campaign Tuition Project.