Sunday, June 8, 2008

United Council General Assembly

I was in Waukegan this weekend for a General Assembly for the United Council of UW Students, a 501 C3 organization comprised of students of member UW campuses who come together to propose legislative as well as other initiatives in the interests of UW students (theoretically), as well as support or condemn actions or current initiatives of the Board of Regents, Wisconsin Legislature, etc. It's basically a large lobbying group.

My committee (Legislative Affairs) was relatively uneventful, and whereas I couldn't get the time of day to propose my initiative, I went back to the hotel to draft my own resolution for the following day's General Assembly. I lobbied other delegates, some more successfully than others, while still others went on tangental tyraids against capitalism blah blah blah. While I was able to gather some support, including one fellow Libertarian (in an organization of hardcore liberals and socialists) I knew the resolution was DOA. However, we had the largest delegation, and might have had some swing (which we did).

Long story short, the intiative failed, but not before I got some good words in, swung some potential votes, and utilized some good parliamentary procedure. From there on in our delegation was generally quiet on most initiatives, trying to gain some leverage over the upcoming budget (I will cover that one later). We ended up adjourning four and a half hours later than expected (budgets are like that), if not for the sole reason of incoming tornados, a problem we had faced both on our way to and from the GA. Indeed, a good portion of our travel time was through tornado sirens.

It was postponed for further research (even though there was plenty), until the next GA, which means we can count on the resolution being on the agenda. This is fine with us, because the intention was primarily to force them to acknowledge our initiative, and then swing the meeting with parliamentary procedure since we were the largest delegation, and necessary for qourum. Our delegation is currently working primarily with Milwaukee, but there are other key delegations we have on our side, more than we expected or could have asked for.

The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to explain to people who are accustomed to demanding government money (without regard to how its going to be paid for) for school, how creating a strong bedrock for economic development and growth is essential to supporting the very programs (and University System) they talk of. The well is already drying up, where do they think this money is going to come from? Also, the more pressure put on the system by increasing subsidized grants and scholarships as well as tuition remissions, the higher the very cost they are fighting will go.

I will have pictures, potentially video up possibly late tonight/tomorrow. Class + work = busy summer.

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