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CUPA-HR Members Meet With Lawmakers in First-Ever “Day on the Hill” Event

On May 17, CUPA-HR hosted its inaugural “Day on the Hill” event, during which 24 members headed to Capitol Hill to promote and advocate for key higher ed HR policy priorities. With a healthy mix of institutions represented (large public universities, community colleges and small private universities from within the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia), higher ed HR’s voice was spread throughout the Capitol with meetings in both the Senate and the House.

Three different groups led by CUPA-HR’s government relations team held 20 different meetings with members of Congress and their staff as well as leading staffers on the Senate House, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; the Senate Republican Policy Committee; the Senate Finance Committee; the Senate Judiciary Committee; the House Education and the Workforce Committee; the House Ways and Means Committee; and the House Judiciary Committee.

On an unusually warm day, even by D.C. standards, these three groups marched all over the Capitol complex, bringing with them personal stories on the impact these issues are having on their individual campuses. “By putting a face behind these issues, staffers and the members of Congress with which we met will more easily be able to relate to our arguments, which will hopefully boost the effectiveness of our advocacy efforts moving forward,” says Josh Ulman, CUPA-HR’s head of government relations.

The meetings afforded both CUPA-HR as an organization and the individual members who attended a platform to discuss issues for which the association has led advocacy efforts over the past year, such as the Department of Labor’s overtime rule and the National Labor Relations Board’s Columbia decision. The day also provided an opportunity for participants to explain issues impacting higher ed that have arisen following the change of administration, including premium processing of H-1B visas and the potential impact of tax reform in the year to come.

Here’s what some of the Day on the Hill participants had to say about their experience:

“The program offered us a unique way to interact with our peers and to collaboratively express concerns with pending legislative matters with our government officials. My group met with two U.S. representatives and several others who worked specifically on legislation that directly impacts the way our institution operates (or would need to operate). This wonderful experience will resonate when I am sitting at my desk asking why/how did this new legislation come about.”

“I found the day professionally and personally rewarding. It was such a great experience to share our concerns on key issues personally with members of Congress and their staff. It also gave me a better understanding of the process and effort that goes into CUPA-HR’s advocacy efforts.”

“What a great experience! This was an excellent learning opportunity for me personally and very beneficial for higher ed visibility and legislation.”

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