Advocacy in action: Huskies descend on Olympia for annual lobbying day

UW students showcased the power of advocacy as they passionately engaged with legislators during the 2024 Huskies on the Hill lobbying day.

Olympia, WA – January 29 marked a powerful day in the realm of student activism as over 130 University of Washington students, representing all three campuses, converged on Olympia for the annual Huskies on the Hill lobbying day. The students, fervently advocating for key issues, brought vibrancy and urgency to the legislative landscape. 

The day kicked off with a stirring keynote address by Lynnwood Council Member Josh Binda. Drawing from his own journey as a college student turned elected official, Binda emphasized the significance of young voices in the political arena.  

“We’re the future with the face,” Binda said. “We don’t need a bunch of old people telling us how to live our lives.” 

Binda’s address resonated with attendees, encouraging them to embrace authenticity.  

“Never sell yourself out of who you are to fit in,” said Binda. “I’d rather lose being who I am than win being who I’m not any day of the week.” 

The students were divided into groups, each tackling specific bills reflective of their concerns. One major focus was Senate Bill 5999 (Washington College Grant), with a particular emphasis on supporting students whose families fall within the 66% to 70% median family income (MFI) range. 

This award will be cut in half at 66% MFI, and at 71%, they do not receive anything. By increasing the award to 70% MFI, more students who need it will be eligible to obtain the maximum award. 

Other bills in focus included House Bill 2114 and Senate Bill 5961 (Rent Stabilization), which aimed at preventing rent prices from increasing more than 5% in any 12-month period, responding to the housing affordability crisis faced by students. 

House Bill 2101 and Senate Bill 6038 addressed the challenges of childcare for students with children, aiming to reduce licensing fees for childcare providers. Meanwhile, House Bill 1889 aimed to remove barriers for undocumented students by allowing them to apply for and receive professional licenses and certificates.