UAA Advocacy Team presents student body issues in Juneau

USUAA President Drew Lemish represents UAA at the Juneau Advocacy Trip.  Photo courtesy KRUA
USUAA President Drew Lemish represents UAA at the Juneau Advocacy Trip.
Photo courtesy KRUA

In the next few weeks, important decisions about issues affecting students will be made. Students will be able to vote on the issues such as the smoke-free initiative and the introduction of a $6 recreational fee. For other issues, such as the funding for building operations, students are dependent on USUAA student government for representation.

Student representatives were in Juneau after battling flight cancellations last Friday and brief delays Saturday morn- ing. The annual advocacy trip officially commenced Saturday afternoon. While UAA students honed in on political conversations, the true intent of advocating the increase of the University of Alaska systems budget remained the same as previous years.

USUAA President Drew Lemish says the foremost objective for UAA is securing more funds for the Engineering and Industry Building. It may be partially erected, but the university lacks the money to complete the project.

The extra money will subsequently be allotted to the construction of the parking garages.

“If you talk to any student that drives to campus, and even students that just don’t drive to campus, they’d probably say more parking,” Lemish said of student needs.

Sofia Fouquet, senior in business and marketing management, embarked on her first advocacy trip this year. She believes it was a great chance to expand certain skill sets for her.

“It’s one of those things that you think about doing throughout your college career. And for whatever reason you always tell yourself next year,” Fouquet said.

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The purpose of the excursion was to ensure general and equal representation of the whole student body. All the institutions strive to work together in these advocacy trips, with UAA and UAF boasting the largest enrollment.

The UA Student Coalition of Leaders is responsible for facilitating the conference and nurturing a cohesive platform for all.

Because Juneau is the state capital, students were able to schedule meetings with their legislators to advocate on behalf of the University of Alaska.

The coalition hosted sessions providing them with interactions with their legislators, education on the difference between lobbying and advocating, and discussed edits that were required to be made to their charter.

The students that participated were not lobbyists. They were not paid to attend but went to the sessions for educational purposes.

Lemish is enjoying a productive year in student government. He has increased participation and has a good rapport with students.

However, maintaining this renewed popularity of USUAA among the students is dependent on their consistent education of students about how legislations affect life on campus.

The Juneau advocacy trip concluded Feb. 4. USUAA will discuss the end results of their trip at their weekly assembly meetings. These meetings are held in the Student Union Cafeteria and are open to all students and general public.