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USF Student Govt. Encourages Classmates to Sound Off to Lawmakers

The next time Florida legislators propose raising tuition or cutting budgets for higher education, members of the University of South Florida Student Government want to respond quickly.

So to make sure politicians in Tallahassee hear their concerns, student senators and other representatives were out on campus Tuesday signing up classmates for a "rapid response team" that can be put into action calling and emailing legislators when an issue arises.

And to put faces on those concerns, Student Senator Colton Canton and his fellow senators encouraged students to tape video messages that the USFSG will send to state lawmakers.

"When you actually see the people that are going to be affected by your (legislators') decisions and you hear them personally asking you and telling you why it's so important to them that we preserve the integrity or our educational system, I hope that will make a bigger impact than another petition or another letter-writing campaign," said Canton, a senior studying political science and creative writing.

The campaign is more about proposals from Tallahassee than issues taking place at USF. However,  Canton said the successful student-driven response to the University's recent attempt at shortening the USF Library's hours of operation showed students that their voices can be heard.

"I found it very inspiring to see students get so involved in their community," he said. "I think that what happened with the Library definitely provides us an opportunity to take advantage of some of the renewed interest in these matters that students have."

The collection of thirty to sixty second messages will be sent to members of the Florida House and Senate's Education Committees.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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