[ NEWS ]






 - By Amanda Riddle
 - Arizona Daily Wildcat
 - January 17, 1997

Conference will take students to Capitol to meet legislators

Enrollment forms are available beginning today for a one-day conference at the state Capitol that educates students on the legislature, said Berry Melfy, the University of Arizona's director of the Arizona Students' Association.

"UA had an incredible voter turnout last November and the conference is an opportunity for students to see who they voted for," she said.

Students can pick up a form at the Associated Students' front desk, located above the bookstore. The deadline is a week prior to the Feb. 27 Legislative Conference, Melfy said.

The 10th annual Legislative Conference is sponsored by ASA and is free for students.

Regan Larish, ASA public affairs director, said the conference provides benefits for both Arizona students and their legislators.

"It allows students and legislators to meet and have lunch together," Larish said. "It allows students to see the state Capitol and allows them to discuss issues with their legislator face to face."

Legislators benefit from interaction with their constituents and it reminds them of their promises to higher education, she said.

The conference tentatively runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes a welcome and introduction by the ASA board. Workshops will follow on issues such as the Arizona Legislature, tuition, current issues in higher education, the Arizona Board of Regents, and the university and state budgets. Students will also be able to attend a legislative hearing and tour the Capitol, Larish said.

"The format is changed from last year because we're offering more workshops for the person who wants to know more about the legislature," she said.

Last year, ASA sponsored a legislative luncheon at the state Capitol instead of an all-day conference, she said.

The luncheon during this year's conference will give students an opportunity to sit at a table with the legislator from their district and discuss their concerns and issues about higher education, Larish said.

Melfy said the luncheon is important for both in-state and out-of-state students.

"These are the people who determine how much funding the schools are going to get, which, in turn, affects tuition," he said.

A closing and social will end the day's activities, Larish said.

Vans will transport students from UA, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, ASU West, UA Sierra Vista and NAU Yuma.

"It's a real eye-opening experience for someone who doesn't know anything about their legislature," said Vicki Chavez, ASA business affairs director. Chavez attended last year's luncheon.

Funding for the conference comes from a line item of $2,500 in ASA's budget.