July 9, 2012 5:43 AM
Tulane Undergraduate Student Government president Michael Lewis can now add “successfully lobbied members of the U.S. Congress” to his resume.
With the help of Tulane alumna Bridget Krieger, Lewis visited the offices of several lawmakers this summer asking them to fight a measure that would double student loan interest rates.
It was announced June 29 that interest rates will remain the same for the next 12 months — a victory Lewis accepts with the understanding that the fight isn’t over.
Lewis says he became interested in loan interest rates when he learned how many Tulane students receive financial assistance. Then, while attending a conference of the National Campus Leadership Council this year, he noticed that college cost was a recurring topic.
“The cost of college kept appearing as a topic that was important to everyone,” says Lewis, who is spending the summer working for a public advocacy firm in Washington, D.C. “During the conference, I and the other presidents realized that if we all stood together, we could have a pretty strong voice.”
Taking on student loan interest rates as their first mission, more than 250 student government presidents from universities around the country signed a letter pleading with Congress not to increase interest rates. Then Lewis, who asked for a D.C. contact through the Tulane Office of Governmental Affairs, was paired with Krieger, who helped him set up appointments.
In the end, Lewis and Krieger made contact with the offices of senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, as well as representatives Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond.
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