Charlotte Slate doesn’t have a political background; her future plans after graduating UNH involve physical therapy school. But a course she’s taking in foreign policy piqued her interest. She became curious about the workings of government.
So, when she learned that, as a member Alpha Xi Delta, she could apply to join scores of other sorority and fraternity leaders lobbying Congress this month, she decided to give it a shot.
And, despite her lack of political knowledge, she was accepted. Slate, a junior who is a kinesiology major, will leave April 21 for Washington, D.C. as part of the 2013 Fraternal Government Relations Coalition Congressional Visits.
After two days of training, she will be one of approximately 100 college students from fraternal chapters across the country lobbying Congress on issues that impact the Greek community.
“I’m very very nervous but also very excited,” Slate says. “I wasn’t sure I’d be accepted with no political science background but I’ve been educating myself on the different issues, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.
The legislative agenda includes anti-hazing legislation, preserving the tax deductibility of charitable contributions and other issues related to college affordability, and the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA), a bill that aimed at making fraternity and sorority housing safer and more affordable for students.
“In addition to tuition, room and board is a huge expense for students,” Slate says. “Nonprofits like Greek life have affordable housing but we need to make sure it stays that way. And that it’s safe. Passing the bill would allow us to raise nontaxable funds to make renovations to our houses.”
While boning up on the subject, Slate, who is also a member of the health profession honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta, went around campus and took photos of various sororities and fraternities. Some, she found, “are fire hazards.”
“Even though I don’t have the background, I think there will be a benefit in just being able represent myself. I think that’s a skill that can be tough for college students develop,” Slate says. “I’m anxious to see how I do.”
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