Students thrive in advocacy efforts

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Story by Bailey BohannanStaff writer

The Racers in Action days – a three-day event to advocate for higher education – were successful in terms of letters sent to legislators and students registering to vote.

“The event was incredibly successful,” said Clint Combs, president of the Student Government Association, or SGA.

“We had 241 total letters sent to 47 different legislators and 47 voter registrations,” he said.

The Racers in Action initiative is a campaign led by SGA to advocate for higher education. SGA set up a booth in the Curris Center and helped students look up their representative, write a letter to them and have their voices heard through those letters advocating for funding of higher education each of the three days the event was hosted.

The SGA advocated for the Murray State student-body as soon as the threat of the new state budget was announced by organizing the Racer in Action days, said Brandon Anderson, freshman from Clarksville, Tennessee. Anderson said it was Combs’ idea to begin writing letters to students’ representatives, but the entire SGA contributed to the effort.

“The SGA does advocate for the students,” Anderson said. “That’s one of our main goals in SGA is just to be the voice of the students.”

Along with Anderson, SGA member Tori Wood, sophomore from Symsonia, Kentucky, contributed to Racers in Action. Wood said she was happy to be involved in the planning and organizing, as well as participating in the March for Education in Frankfort, Kentucky because she said she wanted to advocate for the students.

“I think the ultimate goal was to educate our students and let our voices be heard at Frankfort and to the representatives, so it was kind of almost two part in the fact that we wanted students here to be aware about it, to get them involved with it and then for them to know that we do care and we are worried about this issue,” Wood said.

Each day varied in participation, and SGA members helping out with the event said they each had their own opinion of which day was most successful.

Of the three days, Wood said she thinks the second day had the most students participating, and therefore was the most successful. Wood said she thinks the biggest factor playing a role in this day’s success was the student activity in the Curris Center.

“Leading into the second one, people had already heard about it, we kind of had our feet on the ground, we knew what we were doing, we were more established, so the second one ended up being more successful,” Wood said.

Wood said the first day, not many students knew what was going on, and the third day, it was raining and few students came into the Curris Center simply because of the weather.

Anderson, however, said he thinks the third day was the most successful.

“I think the last day was definitely the best. At that point, we kind of had the word out a little bit better and it was the day before the march in Frankfort,” Anderson said.

After the third day, Anderson and Wood participated in the March for Education in Frankfort. Although it was more than a 16-hour day without any breaks, they said it was an experience they would not give up.

“You can’t trade that kind of experience for anything,” Anderson said. “They can see us on social media, they can see the letters that we send, but nothing resonates more than filling the Capitol with noise.”