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New Org Lion Caucus Serves As A Focal Point For Student Advocacy

Educate. Advocate. Resonate.

Modeled after Iowa’s “Hawkeye Caucus,” the mission of Lion Caucus is two-fold: Engage students with elected officials at all levels (local, state, and federal), and educate them about issues and legislation and their impact on students.

The organization is a university affiliate, so its executive board and members will work in tandem with Penn State’s Office of Government and Community Relations. The office will train members in effective communication and help them understand the impact of budgets and legislation on students.

“We envision Lion Caucus as a focal point for student advocacy — the organization will serve as one component of a new, university-wide advocacy effort that will be launched in the coming months,” said Zack Moore, Penn State’s vice president for government and community relations.

Members will likely either focus on the advocacy or education piece of the Lion Caucus mission, but will collaborate with each other, as well as partner organizations on larger projects like PSU Votes Week and Capital Day.

Inaugural Lion Caucus President Zach Robinson clarified the organization won’t act as the official voice of the student body, as that’s more the role of student government. Rather, Lion Caucus will encourage students to find their own voice in representation and advocacy.

“The actions of the federal, state, and local governments can have a tremendous impact on Penn State students,” Moore said. “For instance, the annual state appropriation has a direct impact on the in-state tuition rate – students should understand that and be prepared to advocate in support of greater state investments in Penn State.”

While the Office of Government and Community Relations dedicates great time and effort to building relationships with elected officials, there’s nothing like hearing the impact of legislation from a student.

“We know students can have a unique and powerful voice in communicating with elected officials; Lion Caucus can help students find and refine that voice to maximize its impact,” Moore said.

Students interested in joining Lion Caucus can find the membership application online. The organization will meet twice monthly, so it won’t be an enormous time commitment for those hoping to get their feet wet in advocacy efforts. Applications are due by midnight Saturday, September 1.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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