Importance of student relations with government often overlooked

Being chairman of SGA’s Student Lobby Board has given me a unique and invigorating perspective on the importance of Tech’s interaction with our local and state governments. In my time working as a member of this realm of our organization, I have truly been exposed to how absolutely essential this interaction is.

While I am confident college students have always been profoundly impacted by legislative issues occurring within our state, I would allege that in the past few years and even months, there have been several concerns—such as legislation affecting the HOPE scholarship and concealed carry—that have occupied the forefront of student’s minds. I would also attest that at least from my own experiences, a college-age student may overlook or disregard the special position we, as Tech students, have been placed in. The ability to be part of such a prestigious and renowned institution in the heart of our state’s capitol provides us the unique opportunity to interact with the individuals who are largely responsible for enacting this very legislation which impacts us so profoundly.

I suppose that before this semester, it was easier for me to dismiss this notion and assume that the relationships with our legislators were left up to those who were considered “politically active” or—at a minimum—more “in the know” than myself.

It has taken my position in SGA to make me realize not only how wrong this was, but even more, how truly detrimental this could be for our student body as a whole.

Through our student government’s interaction with Georgia lawmakers, not only are we as students given the opportunity to express our opinions and stances, but we allow our legislators to see what a phenomenal institution Tech truly is. It is nothing less than a two way street; an extremely tangible opportunity to present our legislature with a face of who they are representing. With events such as our annual Georgia Tech Day at the Capitol, students are given the capability to express their stance on governmental concerns and learn about how the political process operates.

Even more than that, though, it allows Tech students from all backgrounds to develop relationships with our legislators and provide them the ability to see what a diverse and impactful student body Tech is comprised of. I think it is all too easy to insinuate that politics does not hold the colossal importance it does in our everyday life. I can say with sincerity that as I continue to invest more time in my position, and work with incredible offices such as the Office of Government and Community Relations here at Tech, I have been able to acquire a whole new set of ideals I hope to see our school strive to achieve.

I hope to see students who would not consider themselves “politically inclined” to empower themselves and branch out.  I hope for us as a student body to recognize the significance of our voice and the impact we could have on our political system.  I believe we have been blessed with some truly tremendous gifts and advantages that many of our peers around the country were not given, and that it is our responsibility to use those gifts to the fullest; making advances to impact the decisions our government makes on not only the state level, but the national level as well.

I hope that as Tech continues to place value on the relationships we have made with our lawmakers, it will charge more and more students to become impassioned about the power of their voice and what it means to their future, and our institution’s future as well. It is difficult to express how truly humbled and fortunate I am lucky to have had the opportunity to serve Tech’s campus in this role. It has been nothing short of an eye-opening experience that I hope every Tech student can share with me. I hope that our student government continues to make these opportunities available to students, and even more importantly, that we optimize the opportunities we are provided and take advantage of the power of our voice.