The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday February 28th

SBP Mary Cooper recruits student lobbyists

Student government is ready to rally.

At an open house hosted Tuesday by Student Body President Mary Cooper, students had the opportunity to sign up for a listserv aimed at organizing students to lobby legislators for limited budget cuts.

And although most of the dozen students in attendance were friends of Cooper and her staff, members of her administration said they have had success recruiting students for the effort, which is run through the Carolina Advocacy Committee.

“So far we have 500 students signed up and want to at least double that before everyone leaves for the summer,” said Zealan Hoover, student body vice president.

There will be additional sign-up opportunities through the end of the semester, said Grant Heskamp, co-chairman of the Carolina Advocacy committee.

Committee members will be in the Pit the rest of this week with sign-up sheets, Heskamp said. He added that there is also a link on the front page of the student government website where students can add themselves to the listserv.

By signing up, students are making a pledge to contact legislators when they receive emails from the listserv, Hoover said. Included in these emails will be phone numbers and email addresses of members of the legislature working on budget issues.

The most recent proposal, made by the House appropriations subcommittee on education, calls for a system-wide cut of 17.4 percent. Throughout the year, administrators have projected the cuts to range from 5 to 15 percent.

“We would love students to get involved in any capacity they can, whether it’s coming and talking to us or just signing up for the listserv,” Heskamp said.

The overall goal of the committee is to uphold the quality of the University’s academic core, Cooper said.

“We don’t want to change the experience in the classroom,” Cooper said. “We want our diplomas 20 years from now to mean the same thing they mean now.”

Trips to visit legislators in Raleigh and other parts of the state will also be organized through the listserv for any interested students, said Elise Bare, a member of student government involved in the lobbying.

Using the listserv, the organizers of the effort will be able to find and contact students who live in the districts of key vote legislators, Hoover said.

“Our goal is to go and leave information with staff members about what we support,” Bare said.

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