Academics and Research

Students lobby state representatives

On Jan. 25, two-dozen students charged the Capitol as new leaders in early childcare and education reform.

The daylong event was part of the Buell Early Child Leadership Program’s policy and advocacy course. Graduate students spent the day touring the grounds, meeting with legislators and lobbying their state representatives and senators.

Buell Fellows met with House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (a Sturm College of Law student) and Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien to discuss civic engagement and government accessibility. In the afternoon, students lobbied state representatives and senators for the passage of legislation such as Senate Bill 89, which would give more funding to children with disabilities.

Freshman graduate student Nancy Burdic was surprised to learn how interested the lawmakers were to hear from her.

“It was fascinating that Sen. Williams wanted me to testify after hearing about my experiences. It brought home the idea that I could have a part in governing if I choose to participate and make contact,” Burdic says.

The class was designed to show students ways they can get funding and support for policies that provide quality educational initiatives. Most students come to the program with an experienced background in education but lack knowledge of the political process.

The Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program is a one-year graduate certificate in education administration in the field of early care and education. It targets the needs of experienced and emerging administrators. Political leadership is one of its seven core standards.

Gaining a newfound interest in public affairs, Burdic and her classmates plan to continue lobbying their elected officials.

“If I feel strongly enough about a certain issue, I will not hesitate to contact my representative and senator,” Burdic says.

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