April 02, 2012
Nicole Cawsey ’14 will be advocating for The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (H.R.1327/S.705), which helps keep college affordable and improves student housing.
One of UT’s Greek Life members will be lobbying for change in Washington, D.C., this April as part of the national Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee with the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
Nicole Cawsey ’14 was one of 94 undergraduates chosen out of almost 500 to lobby on behalf of The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (H.R.1327/S.705), which helps keep college affordable and improves student housing. She’ll be in the nation’s capital April 21-25 for three days of training and two of lobbying.
“I’ve always wanted to advocate, to be a voice for things I believe in,” said Cawsey, chief marketing officer for UT’s Kappa Alpha Theta and Student Government senator. “I’m passionate about Greek Life on campus, and so it’s exciting to be advocating for it.”
Cawsey describes the legislation as an effort to allow tax-deductible contributions to nonprofit student housing entities, like sorority and fraternity foundations. As it stands now, tax-deductible charitable contributions to these foundations cannot be used for the purpose of housing. Cawsey said the committee is fighting for this change because it could increase affordable housing on campus.
As part of her participation, Cawsey got a support letter from UT’s Dean of Students Stephanie Russell Holz and composed a campus fact sheet with UT’s Coordinator of Student Organizations Brooke James. She is passionate about Greek Life because it really has given her a family away from her family.
“It’s your community within this UT community,” Cawsey said. “I knew before I came to UT that I wanted to join Greek Life, I wanted to meet friends who had the same values as me, and I wanted to be a part of something so big and have a place it in.”
Cawsey attended a Greek Life leadership and enhancement conference last summer hosted by the North-American Interfraternity Conference, which later contacted her to apply for the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee. As an elementary education major she was a little unsure of herself at first.
“I felt a little in over my head by being with people who probably see themselves running the U.S.,” she joked of the other student participants. “But I hope to get out of my comfort zone and build my networking and leadership skills.”
According to James, this is exactly the type of thing Greek Life tries to engender.
“Any opportunity a fraternity man or sorority woman receives to witness fraternity and sorority life on a larger scale is something that cannot be passed up. Our Greek students at UT represent other students just like them across the nation and even internationally,” said James. “Nicole will learn so much from her fellow fraternity and sorority students and will be able to bring this experience back to UT to improve our own community.”
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