What is Government Affairs?
ASMSU’s Office of Governmental Affairs diligently works to empower and civically engage students, as well as advocate for students at the local, state, and federal levels of government. We handle issues both big and small; some that may take a matter of days to solve, or even several years. For instance, on a single day, our office could more effectively communicate a newly enacted East Lansing ordinance to students, while also conducting research on the Higher Education Act to better lobby federal legislators on such issue.
Our most important task is registering the student body to vote in elections. For much of this country’s history, the right to vote and participate in government was reserved for a privileged few. Luckily, brave men and women fought for the right to vote, some sacrificing their lives, and we now live in a society in which the majority of the population will one day have the opportunity to vote. The Office of Governmental Affairs wishes to communicate this message to each and every student with the ultimate goal of registering each and every student on and off campus. In order to accomplish this goal, we seek to provide students with voter registration information and a multitude of registration opportunities throughout the academic year.
The ASMSU Office of Governmental Affairs seeks to inform students of the ordinances and responsibilities most often misunderstood or broken by students to ensure students have all the information they need to make the correct decisions. Most students spend at least four years in East Lansing. They are obliged to follow the laws of East Lansing: whether it is the length of their lawn or the time they have to remove snow from a sidewalk; or even something more serious such as the noise level of a social gathering. We advocate for and against policy that impacts the lives of students such as fair and affordable housing.
Our work also extends to the state and federal levels of government as we actively work to secure the passage of legislation that will improve the health and safety of students. A sexual assault crisis is at hand across the nation’s premier universities, and MSU is not exempt. The ASMSU Office of Governmental Affairs advocates for the passage of policies at the state level such as Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.’s “Yes Means Yes” legislation, in addition to federal policies such as Senator Gillibrand’s Campus Accountability and Safety Act. Further, ASMSU embraces and takes part in the “It’s On US” campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses.
College affordability is another issue affecting the students of MSU. We advocate for greater higher education finance at the state level, as well as the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act at the federal level. We collaborate with the Student Association of Michigan (SAM) and the Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) to ensure the best interests of students are heard by our elected officials.
Ultimately, the ASMSU Office of Governmental Affairs is a service available to students. If there is an issue we are working on and would like to be a part of it, please join our team! On the same note, if there is an issue that we are not taking action on, but you believe we should, please notify us. Contact ASMSU Vice President for Governmental Affairs, Eli Pales, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns you might have. Go Green!