The Office of Student Legislative Affairs held a student input meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 1. The turn-out was extremely low. However, key objectives were accomplished. OSLA members explained several issues pertaining to the legislative status quo as it pertains to Bellevue College, and attending non-OSLA students filled out a survey to give feedback to the group.
According to Tai Yang, the policy coordinator, “This is really just a meeting to get student input and do office reports.” Yang commented that the reports determine “how our efforts [have affected] what’s produced, and plan[s] …for the upcoming legislative session.” Yang explained “we (OSLA) lobby the state on behalf of Bellevue College students.” Also, they review “what will happen at the board meeting we’re going to” and what “happened at the last board meeting we had.”
“OSLA will be doing this once a month…for the rest of the year,” Paul Bell, the policy research intern for Student Programs, added. Bell predicts future meetings will greatly improve. He explained, “These meetings are going to be really impactful.” They will be “the other avenue, outside the student survey, for students to voice input on what they’d like to see the students do as their legislative agenda as far as city issues, county issues and state issues.” He hopes the “OSLA/student legislative agenda will be put out by the end of the month, if not sooner.”
The agenda will be acquired through surveys, and the meetings will augment any findings with additional student voices. These surveys were available at the meeting, and in the future there will be a way to access them online. By the time of the meeting, almost 100 surveys had been collected. The target number will be 805 before any agenda is precisely determined, in order to ensure a representative sample size.
“It’s the student agenda, not the school’s,” explained Bell, “the school lobbies as part of the state board.” Several upcoming issues that OSLA seeks to address are gender neutral bathrooms, use of food stamps on campus, the state higher education budget and Prop 1 to extend bussing. “Through the survey we find out what [issues] students are prioritizing,” noted Bell, and on the survey there are several legislative opinions students have the opportunity to select. There is also an option to write in an issue.
According to Bell, “[OSLA’s] message for this week is ‘Monday is last day to register to vote,’” and for students “to get those voter registrations in.”
He further explained registration, but only in-person, will be available a few days after the Monday deadline. To facilitate a greater voter turn out, an OSLA affiliated Bulldogs Vote Club was created. “We’ve been working…for the past two weeks, coming in early every day, and asking people to vote,” explained Zaya Tsengel, the community relations coordinator. “We need more people,” Tsengel added, urging students to register to vote. “I think it’s fun to get there out in the community, and actively participate,” attested Bulldogs Vote intern Tiffany Dao.