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WWU students lobby for new legislation

The Associated Students is encouraging students to travel to Olympia to speak to legislators

Western Intersectional Lobby Day banner in Western Washington University's Red Square on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024 in Bellingham, Wash. Students meet with legislators and discuss the Legislative Agenda, Feb. 18, 2024. in Olympia, Wash. // Photo by Lola Van Tress

On Sunday, Feb. 18, Western Washington University is hosting Western Intersectional Lobby Day for students to meet with legislators and discuss the Associated Students’ Legislative Agenda. Every year, students spend the weekend in Olympia for the event.

This year's Western Intersectional Lobby Day priorities are financial aid, health and wellness, student employment, sustainability and housing affordability. The goal of this specific legislation is to improve the quality of support students are experiencing. The lobbyist's group is going to advocate for Western students.

Students will advocate for these topics to legislators. They will also gain knowledge of the legislative process and have firsthand experience as participants in lobbying efforts. 

“The benefit for students getting involved is that their advocacy on student issues makes a huge difference in getting bills passed. Legislators want to hear students speak about their personal experiences and why these bills matter to us,” said Erin Goodwin, the AS vice president for governmental affairs. 

Western Lobby Day in 2023 had some great successes in the past year, Goodwin said.

Lobby Day's biggest achievement last year was the approval of a $53.75 million budget to build a Student Development and Success Center, Goodwin said. Construction for the center will start in 2025 and is supposed to finish in 2026.

The Student Development and Success Center is a space for supportive services that help ensure academic success for Western students. The center's goal to is provide the skills and experience needed to thrive in student's future careers. The center has resources ranging from admission and graduation help. 

Kate Washere attended Lobby Day last year through her job as an intern at McBride Public Affairs, a lobbying group based in Olympia.

“Our goal was to hold politicians accountable by passing public policy that protects and expands workplace rights,” Washere said. “We achieved this goal by creating a privilege that keeps worker conversations with their union representative confidential, as well as creating warehouse workers protections, collective bargainings and PSERs for 911 emergencies.” 

Adam Lorio, the special projects manager for Enrollment and Student Services is joining this year's students on the Lobby Day trip. 

“I think we are seeing more and more in our community, and especially at Western, the value of being engaged in the legislative process, whether it's in elections, or whether it's understanding how the legislative process works at the local and the state level,” Lorio said.  

The legislative process is the procedure that makes a bill become law. Students get to see and be a part of the process, and advocate for accommodations that better the campus experience. 

“Helping our students understand that bills are being proposed in each legislative session, which will impact their experience both at Western and beyond,” Lorio said. “Those things are essential, so giving that opportunity to students is super important and something we believe is a real value to students.” 

Check out the ASWWU Office of Civic Engagement’s Instagram for updates on Western Intersectional Lobby Day.

Lola Van Tress

Lola Van Tress (she/her) is a campus news reporter for the Front this winter quarter. She is a Visual Journalism pre-major with an interest in photojournalism. When she is not studying you can find Lola binging many shows and hanging with her friends, Lola can be reached at  

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