CSU students will travel to the capital with student government leaders on Monday to discuss statehouse affairs in the hopes of advocating for issues affecting students.
The event, called â€œAdvocacy Dayâ€ hosted by the Associated Students of CSU, comes on the heels of immense higher education budget cuts from Gov. John Hickenlooper totaling $36 million.
A volunteer staff of eight has worked with ASCSUâ€™s Legislative Affairs Department since the start of the school year to organize the event that is slated to run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enrollment for the event increased this year to 65 students, up from the usual 20 to 50 students who have participated in years past.
â€œI hope that they are more comfortable reaching out to their legislator, that they have a better reference on how to attain information about whatâ€™s going on and to formulate a way to advocate for whatever position or issue theyâ€™re concerned about,â€ said Matt Strauch, ASCSU director of Legislative Affairs.
â€œThis whole trip is not specifically for higher education,â€ he said. â€œThat conversation is very complex and very volatile â€¦
Itâ€™s really about a general approach to being an advocate.â€
Fort Collins and Pueblo state legislative delegations will greet students who will later meet their representatives and senators and sit in on the statehouseâ€™s floor debate.
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, former president of CSU-Pueblo, is scheduled to update students on the state of higher education shortly afterward. Garcia was recently nominated to be the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher
â€œIf thereâ€™s anyone who know higher education issues â€¦ itâ€™s Joe,â€ Strauch said.
Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Larimer, sees students as integral parts of Colorado lawmakersâ€™ discussion of the stateâ€™s university system.
â€œThey pass valuable comments down to us on the importance of higher education. And since thatâ€™s one of the biggest parts of our state government and budget, I think itâ€™s incredibly important to have them engaged in the legislative process,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to their visit very much.â€
ASCSU presented to entry-level political science classes, advertised on the Lory Student Center Plaza, surveyed students and appealed to campus organizations to get students to register.
Strauch partially credited the increased interest in Advocacy Day to university letters excusing participants from class.
â€œNot many college students get to go on field trips,â€ he said.
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at email@example.com.