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What is the time commitment?

The Presidential Student Legislative Advocates program runs Fall, Winter, and Spring terms of the academic year as a non-credit course (PPOL 002). Program meetings are currently scheduled to occur Wednesdays at 5:00pm.

Over the course of the year, students are expected to create “independent development plans” (IDPs) that include additional activities such as shadowing policy advocates or working directly with practitioners, including legislators, legislative staff and lobbyists.

The program also involves multiple “extra credit” opportunities on and off campus. Our hope is that students who accept a position in the PSLA will participate in all three quarters during the academic year.

The amount of time students put into this program, beyond weekly meetings and IDPs, will depend on how much and what they want to get out of it. To successfully complete the fall quarter, students are expected to participate in at least seven of the ten program activities, including IDPs, scheduled for the fall quarter.

What is a non-credit course and how does it work?

Non-credit courses allow students the opportunity to engage in academic experiences that are transcript visible but do not require tuition. Students nominated to the PSLA will register for the non-credit course each academic term. Only students who were nominated and submit their application to the PSLA may register for the course. There are two grades for this course, SC (successfully completed) and NSC (non-successfully completed).

What does it take to “Successfully Complete” this Program?

Each quarter students must participate in at least seven of the ten scheduled meetings and activities that are outlined in the syllabus. Our hope is that students will participate in all three quarters during each academic year. Each quarter provides distinct experiences and advantages. Fall quarter is devoted to preparing for the legislative sessions; depending on the year, the first half of Winter quarter will be devoted to the legislative session, and then merge into federal issues. The spring quarter will focus on the May primary election and other emerging issues. We will hold a special certificate of completion meeting with the President at the end of spring quarter for students who successfully complete all three quarters. The President routinely participates in program activities and meetings.

How are students recruited for this program?

University leadership nominated students in response to a request from the PSLA and Government Relations office at OSU. The program indicated interest in a diversity of students with a high level of activity in campus life, the ability to communicate with others about their experiences at OSU, and their interest in public policy as it relates to their field of study. In short – students nominated for PSLA show promise for helping the university to succeed in the policy-making and budgetary process at the state and federal levels. Additionally, students who participate in the program will likely experience significant academic and professional dividends.

For the 2019-2020 Academic year --- How is the PSLA involved with the state legislative session?

In 2020, the legislature will convene on February 3, with adjournment – sine die – scheduled for March 8. Much of the legislative work in 2020 will be focused on unfinished business from the 2019 long session. OSU and the other public universities will be seeking legislative approval of funding for capital construction – campus buildings. The fall quarter will be aimed at preparing advocacy plans and materials for the February 2020 legislative session.

We anticipate the PSLA will be focused on three OSU capital projects – a new Arts and Education Complex and continued restoration of Cordley Hall on the Corvallis campus, and a new Student Success Center on the Cascades campus in Bend. We anticipate a number of other policy initiatives will be of interest to students in the 2020 short session.

Legislative committees will be meeting in September, November and January, as they prepare for the February session, and to review a number of matters carried over from the 2019 session. We expect PSLA participants will have an opportunity to monitor or participate in these committee sessions.

Program activities during the fall and winter quarters will also involve orientation regarding how to be an effective advocate, how to testify before a committee, and in-depth briefings regarding OSU’s priorities in Salem. Additionally, we will be exploring the policy issues that are of interest to students. During the 2019 legislative session, PSLA participants were involved in climate change issues surrounding House Bill 2020, the statewide carbon cap & invest program. They met with the Governor’s staff, advocates for and against the bill and committee staff who were responsible for running the legislative process.

There will be key dates for PSLA advocacy efforts driven by the legislative process. On Wednesday, November 20 we will be participating in an advocacy day in Salem with the Beaver Caucus, an independent advocacy organization dedicated to supporting OSU in the state legislature. Details will be forthcoming, but you will be expected to join other advocates in meeting with legislators regarding OSU’s legislative priorities for the 2020 session.

OSU will be collaborating with all of Oregon’s public universities on a joint lobby day, scheduled for Wednesday, February 13th.  This is an all-day event and PSLA students are expected to play a leadership role while working with other university students and advocates. Throughout the legislative session, program activities will include meetings with legislators, participating in lobby days, and could involve testifying before committees, and attending hearings and other meetings in Corvallis, Salem and around the state.

If interested, participants may also have the opportunity to form groups that are focused on particular bills that align with their specific interests. We will also hold periodic “briefing sessions” to keep PSLA participants up to date on what’s happening in Salem and how they can be involved. Participants will be subscribed to the Government Relations Update, which provides an insider’s view on what is happening in Salem. During the academic year, students can expect some on-campus sessions, and travel to advocate in Salem.

Does it cost anything to be in the PSLA?

No, other than your time and effort. The program will finance travel and other expenses. Registration for the non-credit course is free.

Is there reading associated with PSLA?

Of course! (What are you doing right now?) There will be plenty of opportunities to read more and delve further into issues, but it’s the student’s choice. Much of the discussion in our sessions will be driven by information we provide ahead of time. Reading materials will include advocacy and fact sheets (“one-pagers”), legislative updates, current articles of interest, and information about particular bills.

What legislation will be involved?

Education and Infrastructure: Our advocacy efforts will primarily focus on legislation that will finance the construction and rehabilitation of buildings on the OSU-Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses. These buildings will serve many future generations of OSU students. PSLA participants will help communicate the importance of these projects.

There will be a number of other issues and initiatives that we will invite PSLA to join as they arise. This will likely involve food security for students and other student-centered issues.

Climate Change: We anticipate a high degree of participant interest in state legislation aimed at regulating carbon emissions. Across our campuses and our academic and research programs, OSU has, and will continue to be, active in this legislation. We are planning a session with Dr. Peter Ruggiero, Director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute which is housed at OSU, and involves the work of scientists and economists at OSU, the University of Oregon, and Portland State University.

Do students choose the issues for which we advocate?

Yes. And no. When it comes to seeking funding for Oregon’s public universities, there is a broad coalition working together on agreed-upon priorities and programs. We will be working wholeheartedly with this coalition. OSU’s positions on legislation are developed in a deliberative and inclusive process that works across the entire university, and with other universities, to involve and engage student voices. We will continue to work closely with the student government -- the Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) and the Associated Students of the Cascades Campus (ASCC) -- to ensure that students are engaged in setting University legislative priorities and policies. The activities in this program will be consistent with the inclusive process we use to develop and implement OSU’s legislative agenda.

We will welcome student suggestions if participants are interested in pursuing particular bills or issues. In addition, the program will include identifying particular issues that we will study for the purposes of learning more about the legislative process. This component will be particularly important for activities aimed at the federal level.

Will students be involved in organizing and presenting for PSLA?

Yes! We are looking for student help. PSLA participants can volunteer to help us organize future meetings and activities. In addition, as we move through the legislative session, participants may identify topics and issues in which they wish to be involved.

How is the PSLA involved in federal issues?

Over the 2020 spring break, in collaboration with ASOSU and various Colleges at OSU the PSLA is developing and organizing a trip for 16 students to Washington, DC. This trip will involve meeting with Oregon’s Congressional delegation as well as exploring a specific federal issue for the purposes of increasing understanding regarding that topic. During spring quarter the program will delve into federal issues and potentially meet with the local offices of the Oregon Congressional delegation. We will also be learning about the May 2020 Primary Election.

Who else is involved?

We are working very closely with OSU’s Government Relations Office, ASOSU and ASCC to guide OSU’s legislative priorities and the PSLA. In addition, many of our efforts will be conducted with the other public universities and community colleges in Oregon. We will also be working with the Beaver Caucus, a volunteer association of OSU alumni and others who support OSU.

Over the course of the legislative session, OSU may also be working with a broad coalition of natural resource industry (agriculture, forestry, and fisheries), conservation and environmental groups on a variety of issues. We may also be working on a number research, economic development, and technology transfer issues.

What are the opportunities for networking?

Many policy and political professionals around the state are interested in working with students. PSLA participants will be provided opportunities to work side-by-side with university alumni, industry leaders, innovators, educators, activists, and others involved in helping to shape state public policies.

What are the opportunities for interning?

We will be holding a session in November specifically designed to address this question. That session will involve presentations by students who have interned in both Salem and Washington, DC, legislative staff who work with interns, an academic advisor, and OSU’s Career Development Center. Over the course of the Program we will be providing interview and resume assistance, as well as flagging internship and scholarship opportunities.

What are the opportunities for shadowing?

Throughout the year we will provide participants with opportunities to spend a day in Salem, shadowing the OSU Government Relations staff and others who are engaged in the legislative process. Shadowing often involves a long day as participants attend meetings with legislators, hearings, and other activities.

What if I have more questions?

We’d love to receive them. Please contact: Jock Mills: .