New student club to focus on lobbying
Two UA students are teaming up and starting a club to lobby on issues that affect the university and students.
Scott Jauch, a chemical engineering sophomore, heard of AdvoCATS at a networking event last spring. In the program, UA alumni work with the UA Office of State Relations to advocate for the university. Jauch said he decided it would be a good idea to create an AdvoCATS student club on campus, to mirror the goals of the alumni program but also add a student voice.
With the help of Ahva Sadeghi, a philosophy, politics, economics and law junior, Jauch started the club this semester hoping to raise awareness about legislation and teach students how they can make a difference in the outcome of legislative decisions.
The students are currently working on finding an adviser for the club and have already drafted the club’s constitution.
Cole Malham/The Daily Wildcat Ahva Sadeghi and Scott Jauch, co-founders of Advocats, posing for a picture on the UA campus on Wednesday.
Sadeghi has some experience in the area, as she volunteered with statewide student lobbyist group the Arizona Students’ Association last semester. She said she hopes AdvoCATS can work closely with ASA and with the alumni chapter of AdvoCATS to strengthen students’ voices on government issues that directly affect the university.
The students are striving for a nonpartisan and non-political club.
“We just want it to be strictly focused on education,” Sadeghi said, “and for everyone to have a bottom line that we all think that education is a solution and we need to lobby for more funding for education.”
Having ties to the alumni program brings legitimacy to the student club, Sadeghi added, and could also benefit the club monetarily as alumni often help fund student organizations.
Jauch said the alumni chapter was excited to hear about the student club being formed. The club will hopefully work with ASA and the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s directors of state affairs to give students a stronger voice, Jauch added.
Morgan Abraham, ASUA president and an ASA board member, said the club sounds like a great way to involve more students in the cause.
“I’ve always been a big believer in the more students you have behind a cause … the better,” Abraham said. “I think it’s an amazing idea.”
Tensions rose last fall when ASA began donating student fees to a political campaign for a bill that would extend a one-cent per dollar sales tax increase for education. Ultimately, the state Legislature passed a bill banning organizations not recognized by the university, including ASA, from receiving student fees. Sadeghi hopes having a new club on campus with similar goals will help students focus on government issues that affect them.
“Maybe [the AdvoCATS student club] will be a new initiative that people will be more welcoming to,” Sadeghi said. “It was just unfortunate the way [ASA] was treated when we went to the House or when we went to the state Senate.”
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