Auburn students meet with governor and state officials at annual Lobby Day

Published: February 17, 2017
Updated: June 21, 2017
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Auburn's SGA Lobby Board met with Alabama's governor, lieutenant governor and state officials to discuss issues related to higher education as part of the annual SGA Lobby Day on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the state's capitol in Montgomery.

The Lobby Board, a branch of SGA's cabinet, consists of 30 Auburn students with a passion for local and state politics as well as a desire to lobby for more funding for Auburn University.

Lobby Board President Calvin Wilborn said that SGA Lobby Day allows the board to gain face time and strengthen their relationships with their elected officials.

"It is something that Auburn has been participating in for the last 20 years," Wilborn said. "This day is important because we can meet with our representatives and senators and show them our passion for these issues."

Students had the opportunity to meet with Gov. Robert Bentley and discuss current issues in the state as well as plans for Alabama's growth. Bentley complimented the group on their desire to make an impact on their campus and in their state.

"I have learned to love and respect Auburn. It's a different atmosphere there and you all ought to be proud of that," Bentley said.

Lt. Gov. and Auburn alumna Kay Ivey spoke at a luncheon, sharing stories about her time at Auburn and how it changed her life for the better.

"You need to live by the Auburn Creed. Be friendly, forward thinking and take advantage of every opportunity to improve your community," said Ivey.

Ivey also stressed the importance of being informed and involved in political decisions at the local, state and federal level.

"You have to pay your city rent just like you have to pay your house rent," Ivey said. "We all have an obligation to get involved in our community, to help others and help improve the quality of life where we live and work."

More than 20 elected officials attended the luncheon and spoke with students on issues ranging from how to get involved with politics to the current political climate in Alabama.

Emily Stone, an SGA senator for the College of Agriculture and a member of Lobby Board, said her passion for politics stems from a desire to increase college funding and see long-term growth in Alabama.

"Many people in the state don't have the opportunity to go to college," said Stone. "I think the more people that become educated, the more opportunities there are for jobs to come to Alabama. This will then uplift our state as a whole."

Senator Tom Whatley, District 27 of Lee County, said it is exciting and refreshing having young minds visit the capital and be excited about politics.

"The students at Auburn are a cross representation from all over the state," Whatley said. "I'm requesting a total budget of around $12 million for Auburn Univeristy for programs like cyber security or the aviation program. Having people from the district tell their elected officials why those budget items are important is extremely valuable."

Jesse Westerhouse, Auburn's 2016-2017 SGA president, urged all Auburn students to get involved with the local, state and federal initiatives.

"Lobby Day is a great opportunity for us to form relationships and show the capital that Auburn students care about politics," Westerhouse said. "I would encourage all students to apply for Lobby Board or get involved so we can better the future of Auburn Univeristy and Alabama as a whole."

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 29,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.