Lobby Day 2012

Last Tuesday, February 21, 35 students, led by Gerald O’Brien, professor of social work, from the SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences Department of Social Work, embarked on an annual pilgrimage to Springfield, Ill. The trip to the state’s capital was for “Lobby Day,” an annual event where social work students are challenged to learn what it’s like to lobby for or against state legislation.

The participating students each pick and research bills that they’ll be lobbying during for the trip.

“A lot of our students change their position over time because of their research,” explained O’Brien. “Students come to understand the complexity of some of these issues.”

Some of the big issues this year included: gay and lesbian adoption policies, savings policies for individuals with developmental disabilities, and drug testing TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) recipients. The goal of lobby day is not so much to get particular bills passed but rather to help students learn how to work within the system.

“They need to understand and be comfortable engaging in the policy arena,” O’Brien explained. “Because obviously it’s somewhat daunting.”

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