Due to a reporting error, the original version of this editorial incorrectly states that the Association of Student Governments’ last advocacy trip to Washington, D.C., in January 2009 cost the association $26,000, with costs from participants bringing the total to more than $50,000. The trip cost the association $6,000. Other expenses were paid for by participants. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
The Association of Student Governments deserves credit for trying to have its voice heard in Washington, D.C. But in a time of steep budget cuts, the steep cost of lobbying trips to the capital — paired with the matching funds schools provide — is an unneeded luxury that provides few, if any, meaningful returns. At its meeting this weekend, the ASG can save its money — and breath — by voting in favor of a bill that would restrict its lobbying to the state level.
The “Keep it Local” bill is sponsored by Kevin Kimball, who lost a narrow election to the current ASG president Atul Bhula late last year. If passed, this amendment would not allow ASG to send student groups outside of the state of North Carolina to advocate for the UNC system.
Cited in the bill is a quote from the current president in which he states that he wants to move “to the national level.” The language in this bill suggests that Atul’s goal is a bad idea.
In January 2009, the organization spent $26,000 to send a group to the nation’s capital. This money was then matched by the schools that were being represented for a total of more than $50,000. But what has really come from these expensive trips?