BY: JACOB BLAIR
Technology can reach a global audience, but Eastern’s Student Government Association (SGA) is just trying to reach Kentucky state legislators. SGA is introducing an online video campaign to persuade lawmakers to increase support for higher education.
This video is the replacement tactic for the Rally for Higher Education, which was an assembly effort by public universities and colleges in Kentucky to capture the attention of legislatures. Last year, Eastern broke history by having approximately 100 students representing Eastern at the Capitol Building in Frankfort.
However, the Board of Student Body Presidents canceled the Rally for Higher Education in favor of more cost-effective, professional and personal approaches to state legislators.
SGA president Madelyn Street said the video allows for more focus on the university and a voice from some of Eastern’s students. Previously, only the student body presidents were able to speak to legislators for about a minute and a half on their thoughts about higher education at the rallies. Others students were unable to directly address the legislators.
SGA Treasurer Elizabeth Horn came up with the idea soon after hearing that the Rally for Higher Education would be cancelled.
“We were discussing in [Executive] Cabinet some alternatives,” Horn said. “We do not have the budget like larger universities, but we do have people who are active on campus and always want to use their talents to help.”
Horn said she believes the video campaign came together at the right time because the university is now reallocating funding. She said student involvement on-campus is very important for making a change in higher education.
Madison Koller, 19, an American Sign Language major from Lexington, was one of the students featured in the video. When the idea was pitched at a Residence Life Council meeting, Koller stepped up and asked to be a part of the project.
“It was a way to promote Eastern,” Koller said. “People don’t know that there are specialized programs here to prepare people for the outside world. The video was very good at saying why students want more higher education and need the money for it.”
Street said she hopes students will contact their county’s senators and representatives and share the video with them. For out-of-state students, Street said to share it with the legislators who represent Madison County.
Just because the filming and uploading has been completed, it is not the end of the video campaign Street said.
“We’re in the process of sending it to as many people as possible,” Street said. “We’ve done a press release through the Department of Public Relations. We’ve contacted the Richmond Register and WKYT and are waiting for a response to see if we can have it on more outlets than just EKU’s website. SGA is in the process of brainstorming more ways to have the video seen by legislators. We are by no means done with this. ”
SGA has set up a web page featuring the video as well as a link for county legislator information at http://www.sga.eku.edu/insidelook/listen-legislators.