The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday May 20th

ASG president visits Washington, says little

Dem. leaders sought student voices

Two UNC-system students traveled to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to talk to Democratic leaders about issues facing college students.

But they didn’t get to say much.

Atul Bhula, president of the UNC Association of Student Governments and Josh Cotton, vice president of legislative public affairs for the organization, attended a closed U.S. Senate committee meeting to represent students from North Carolina.

While many student leaders spoke about campus issues throughout the meeting, Bhula said he wasn’t able to.

“I was supposed to speak toward the end, and they pretty much ran out of time,” said Bhula. “Those who did speak had some good insight.”

The Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, which hosted the event, works with community leaders to make sure diverse views are represented.

Some of the topics that senators and students discussed were the economy and the job market, Bhula said.

“Basically, the committee brought in students so that they could bring up issues to the senators,” Bhula said.

Both UNC-system attendees said they went into the meeting not knowing what to expect.

“They gave me no agenda at the beginning so I was going in there blindsided,” Bhula said.

Bhula said he was invited by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., to attend the event.

Bhula and Cotton said they were able to exchange introductions with Hagan, but did not talk to her in detail.

Bhula said he has plans to meet with Hagan in the future.

“I’m going to talk with her sometime soon because today she was just running around,” he said.

Cotton said he found the meeting to be an interesting experience and was pleased to have met a diverse group of student leaders.

“I was really happy Atul included me in his journey up here,” Cotton said.

“It was pretty neat being able to meet Harry Reid and some of the other folks in there,” he said.

Bhula said he plans to discuss what was said at the Democratic Steering Committee with fellow ASG members at their upcoming meeting in Fayetteville this weekend.

The association includes delegates from 17 UNC-system schools and is funded by $1 from each students’ fees system wide.

“I’m hoping we may be able to come up here sometime in the future,” Bhula said.

Contact the State & National Editor at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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