Students urged to share their opinions

Paige Godden

Members of the Government of the Student Body and professors have been rallying to get students to go the Regents Day on Monday on the Hill in Des Moines.

Jessica Bruning, director of the ISU Ambassadors, explained to Steffen Schmidt’s political science class why it is important for students to attend.

Bruning said it is an annual event, but, “It’s a little bit different this year due to the severity of the budget cuts.”

Bruning said it is the Ambassadors’ goal to get 100 students to the Capitol this year.

Schmidt, professor of political science, said, “I have my students attend lectures or internship opportunities and do not penalize them, so I certainly think that civic activities, sharing information with legislators, is a very worthwhile activity. It is always valuable for citizens to help legislators make better decisions by talking to them and giving them a reality check about life out in the state.”

Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman-Catt Center, said, “I think it is important for students to be more politically engaged, which includes attending rallies as well as volunteering, signing petitions, writing letters to the editor and, of course, voting. It is important for students to make their voices heard.”

“I think such lobbying efforts can be successful, especially if students turn out in force to show the legislators that they care about issues that will not only affect their university educations but also their future as citizens of Iowa,” Bystrom said.

Luke Roling, president of GSB, said the university is running on a pretty lean budget, which makes it important for students to talk to their legislators.

“The university is at a point where … year after year of budget cuts are really starting to take a toll on the student experience. A lot of students are starting to see a small decrease in maintenance, less frequent cleaning, and it’s really getting to the point where it’s going to have a severe impact,” Roling said.

Rolling said this is the reason why a big push is happening this year as opposed to other years.

“We haven’t had salary raises in a number of years. We’re at a point of losing faculty if we don’t get the proper funding,” Roling said.

Roling said in response to the ISU Republicans plan to lobby for the cuts that if students want to enjoy the quality of education they can’t support the cuts.

“I’ve only heard through the grapevine that they have interests in lobbying for cuts. … Students are entitled to their own opinions,” Roling said.

Roling will be attending the Big 12 Day on the Hill in Washington, D.C., next week as well.

Transportation is provided to the Iowa Capitol. A bus will be leaving at 10 a.m. Monday from the west side of the Memorial Union.