Courtesy of Kristina Morelos
Courtesy of Kristina Morelos

The 11th annual UC Student Lobby Conference served as an opportunity for student leaders to lobby the state’s elected representatives and organize workshop sessions to inform the public about a wide variety of issues. Several ASUCR senators attended the conference, which took place March 1-4 in Sacramento, and shared their thoughts on what the conference meant to them and the students.

“It seemed from my perspective a very empowering trip for all the students who attended,” said ASUCR Senator Ian Cavasos. “Everyone had something great to say about all the workshops and clinics and what the they learned.”

ASUCR Vice President of External Affairs Lazaro Cardenas directed a workshop himself. Entitled “United Students Against Sweatshops,” the session pushed to “mobilize students on issues facing labor and workers on-campus and internationally.” Cardenas and other leaders wanted to inform students about the indignity of such sweatshops as he encouraged students to join his movement.

Other topics of interest included UCSA’s voter registration campaign called UCweVOTE. The project registered a total of 51,846 students in 2012, 21 percent of which were from the UC system.

Delegates who attended the conference also provided a list of legislative priorities for 2013. The list included potential solutions to problems such as the oil severance tax, tuition equity for high school students and Cal Grant tuition and fee coverage.

“I really believed in the Cal Grant reforms…” stated ASUCR Senator Ian Cavasos. “There were certain assembly bills that were being voted on that could really provide more opportunities for students to get the funds they need to go to college.”

The final day of the conference featured a march to the state capitol. Entitled March in March, the rally was a way for student leaders to remind policymakers of their importance to the state.

“It was very empowering,” said ASUCR senator Kristina Morelos about the march.

The conference concluded on Monday, March 4 with a legislative reception. In it, the Legislative Community was invited to meet with students affected by defunding of higher education. The event, which ended by 7 p.m. concluded the four-day conference.

Ian Cavasos reflected on the event. “I think this conference as a whole taught me to be more informed about the [issues] because even certain elected officials are not aware of them all,” he said. “If we are informed we can write, email, or call to ask our senators and assembly members to vote for issues we are passionate about. I hope the UCR students continue lobbying as a collective for higher education issues.”