By Allyssa Schoonover
Student Government officers travelled to Washington, D.C., to represent Baylor at Big XII on the Hill. Student leaders from all of the Big XII schools travel to D.C. to meet with legislators and advocate for college students. They met with more than a dozen legislators and discussed issues that pertain to students today.
“Basically the purpose is to advocate for students on the Hill. When students do this instead of lobbyists, it can have more of an impact,” said Arlington junior Dominic Edwards, internal vice president.
Three members of student government, two members of Baylor ambassador sand the student regent went on this trip from Sunday to Wednesday. They were accompanied by two advisors, Vice President for student life Dr. Kevin Jackson and Rochonda Farmer-Neal, director of government relations.
Aside from the time they spent lobbying, they were able to sit in on senate meeting and listen to oral arguments in the Supreme Court.
They lobbied for federal funding for undergraduate research, expanding student work-study opportunities and the Pell Grant program.
“The vast majority of representatives we spoke to supported our mission,” Hodges said.
Discretionary funding is up for cuts, so the group arrived at the appropriate time, Hodges said. He also said that it is important to continue to pressure and lobby for higher education so more people can have the opportunity to attend college.
“When you invest federal research dollars, you’re doing something that directly impacts the standard of living of the people you represent,” said Hodges.
They spoke a lot about the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative and how it pertains to undergraduate research.
“I think the biggest accomplishment is getting Baylor out there and representing students,” Edwards said. “It’s great that people appreciate that we come year after year.”
The students were impressed with how well their message was received. Hodges said he felt that our Texas leaders are dedicated to this cause.
“Baylor has been sending student lobbyists for years,” Hodges said. “We must not relent on the pressure to show that higher education is a priority.”
Student body president Wesley Hodges, Internal Vice President Dominic Edwards, External Vice President Lexington Holt, two members of Baylor ambassadors, Student Regent Taylor Hoogendoorn, Vice President for student life Dr. Kevin Jackson and Rochonda Farmer-Neal the director of government relations went on this trip to D.C. from Sunday to Wednesday.