The Associated Students of Madison’s Legislative Affairs committee is meant to represent student interests on a local, state and national scale. And, shockingly, that’s what they’re doing.
This is surprising news, not necessarily because of Leg Affairs’ track record, but simply its inclusion as a committee of ASM. While many branches of our notoriously dysfunctional student government have floundered for most of the year in ideological shouting matches, gross inefficiency or plain old bickering, Leg Affairs is doing something productive, effective and exactly in line with its goals.
This March, Leg Affairs is looking to join the Association of Big Ten Students for a summit with members of Congress to speak up for University of Wisconsin students about federal student loan reform.
Not only will this event be a good step, but also it is one initiated by the UW Leg Affairs committee, starting with a mailing campaign to 30 legislators and coordinating with other Big Ten campuses.
The bill in question would alter the federal student loan system. And though there are some aspects of the bill that would hurt the University of Wisconsin, Leg Affairs has the foresight to recognize that, on the aggregate, this restructuring would benefit the majority of college students.
The plan looks both concrete and positive, except for one little catch — getting there. This is one trip to D.C. Finance Committee should fund in full, though within reason. An expense like the travel costs for this trip, previously unexpected and unbudgeted, is exactly what Finance Committee should be funding. Furthermore, unlike recent pushes for Finance Committee to fund trips for a cause primarily affecting a specific slice of the student population, this effort would benefit the entire student body.
Finance Committee, take note and let the work begin. Leg Affairs, nice job. The rest of ASM? Time to catch up.