Advocating in Washington, D.C.

Posted: March 21, 2018, 2:37pm

For the third time since joining USC’s Graduate Student Government (GSG), I had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of our 23,000+ graduate students. On this specific trip, we met with the offices of the following Californian congressmen and congresswomen:

  • Senator Kamala Harris
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Representative Tony Cardenas
  • Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard
  • Representative Steve Knight
  • Representative Alan Lowenthal
  • Representative Adam Schiff
  • Representative Ted Lieu
  • Representative Linda Sanchez
  • Representative Ed Royce
  • Representative Karen Bass

Our platform included our dissatisfaction with the PROSPER Act and it’s restrictions on student loans and public service loan forgiveness, our need for clearer processes to handle sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses, and our support of fair access to government-funded research and costly textbooks. Surprisingly, most offices were receptive to our views and gave us encouraging feedback.

Most of our time was spent preparing our pitches and meeting with staff on the hill, but we had a few hours to explore the city and the museums on the mall. We stopped by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to stare at the Obama portraits in awe. I really loved Barack’s painting. It fits into the America’s Presidents nicely because he is still presented in a strong, calm pose; however, it stands out greatly because of the fresh and vibrant colors in the background. It was an incredible experience seeing these portraits in person so quickly after they were presented.

If I get a chance to return in the fall, I will certainly explore the rest of the Smithsonian’s that I haven’t yet gotten to and return to my favorite restaurants!

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