The Bellevue College Office of Student Legislative Affairs is a student-run organization that enables students to represent Bellevue College in local, state and federal governments. OSLA has a student state liaison, Jessica Bagdasarov, spending the quarter in Olympia lobbying for issues that affect Bellevue College and its student body. OSLA recently ran a student survey to form priorities for their legislative agenda. “It’s one of the big things to represent the student voice, so you know what the most important things to get done are,” said Hyemin Son, OSLA policy coordinator. OSLA recently developed a new agenda that includes discussing college affordability, textbook affordability, a disability work group, sexual violence resources and correctional education – providing prisoners with education. The previous student staff helped the current student staff formulate the agenda. “We came up with six items, and had students vote from 1-6 at the ASG/OLSA table. If you look at our agenda you will see that it is listed from 1-6, in order of student priority. That’s how we move forward and that’s the agenda we use down in Olympia when we’re lobbying,” said OSLA member Jahkari Singh.
“On the 26th of January we are doing lobbying for community and technical college lobby day. All the community and technical colleges in the state will go down to Olympia. We try to get students from different constituency groups with different agendas and get them together. We transport students down and try to get them to talk to the service district legislatures,” added Singh.
“We also help students talk to people who are legislatures who live in their district. Basically getting stories because that’s how we can get money for certain things. They can look [at] numbers all day but they really like stories and interactions with students, more personal connections,” added Singh.
There are meetings at Bellevue City Hall every Monday that the OSLA city liaison attends. “When there are city problems that affect Bellevue College students, I lobby for Bellevue College students and testify there. That is one other way of expressing ourselves and our problems,” said OSLA city liason Saghar Rasoulamini.
“I thought [OSLA] was something I would be very interested in, seeing how we can change things with people. A lot of international students and students from all around had concerns about textbook affordability, we already pay tuition to come to the school and then you have to pay for the textbooks too. For me it was about being able to have a voice and be a voice for other people,” said Jade Sherlock, community relations coordinator.
“Getting to know the legislatures and representatives was interesting and something I loved to do. I don’t get tired of doing it,” added Rasoulamini.
Currently all student job positions with OSLA are closed. Job positions open up again June 30. Volunteering with OSLA is the best thing to do to increase the likelihood of getting hired. Follow the Bellevue College OSLA and ASG Facebook pages for information regarding volunteering.