UH students meet with
By Deanna Sheffield
Daily Cougar Staff
For six graduate social work students,
and the 94 people they were asked to recruit for a class assignment, the
opportunity to lobby their legislators is right around the corner.
All 100 UH students will attend the biannual
Day of Student Legislation on Tuesday.
Once in Austin, the students will participate
in workshops throughout the morning, said Ira Colby, dean of UH's Graduate
School of Social Work.
Students will then participate in a march
to Capitol Hill, followed by a rally, said Sara Lewis, a graduate student
involved with the project.
The big event on the agenda, however, is
the time allotted for students to speak to legislators. About 50 students
are expected to lobby aides and legislators, Lewis said.
"We're looking to talk to legislators committed
to human services," Lewis said. "We really want to get our voices out there
and tell them that we are out there."
A key issue that students plan to address
is Medicaid simplification, with an emphasis on making it easier for qualified
families within Harris County to receive insurance, Colby said.
Many children who are eligible for Medicaid
may not get the insurance coverage they need because their parents find
the application process overly rigorous, he said.
Other issues to be discussed include health
care, human rights and welfare reform, Lewis said.
By afternoon, social work students will
join other UH students attending as part of UH Day in Austin to request
Tier One funding for the University.
"It is the largest meeting of social work
students in the country," Colby said. "The big piece will be to see that
people can make a difference. It's an important part of being a citizen.
Hopefully what happens is that they're still active in the legislative
process (in the future.)"
On their last Austin trip, in 1999, 800
social work students from several Texas universities attended, Lewis said.
The social work departments of Texas Christian
University, the University of Texas and UH-Victoria are among those attending
this year. It is estimated that more than 1000 college students will attend
this year, Colby said.
"It shows what students can do when they
organize themselves," Colby said.