SGA senator's project prompts 20 calls to Michigan representatives


Student Government Association Senator Alec Esparza explains SGA's "Call Your Senators" event on Feb. 21 at the Down Under Food Court in the Bovee University Center.

For two hours Feb. 21, a state or federal Michigan representative's phone rang once every six minutes with a constituent on the other end of the line.

These calls came from the Down Under Food Court in the Bovee University Center. Student Government Association Senator Alec Esparza's senate project, "Contact Your Legislators," helped Michigan residents reach out to their state or federal representative with an added bonus —cookies.

Esparza hosted the same event last semester, and said only a dozen people stopped by. This year, 40 people stopped by as 20 calls were distributed.

"Not as many people called," Esparza said. "(That) is why we're trying to incentivize a little more with cookies this time around."

SGA Senator Shane Guenin volunteered at the event and said he was inspired to participate because of the value of citizen involvement in politics.

"It's a little disheartening how little people know," Guenin said. "and that's the goal of outreach programs like this, to help people consider why they aren't engaging."

Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center Administrative Clerk Mary Beth Calverley attended last semester's "Contact Your Legislators" event and attended again.

"It's important for all of us to know who our representatives and senators are," she said. "It's important to reach out - everybody's voice counts."

Calverley says the event is effective and timely in regards to current events.

"They are here at a good time, with what's going on (politically)," she said. "Especially this month."

The effectiveness, she said, comes from the method of contact.

"Social media is effective, but connecting directly to the people working for us in the government is a good way to reach out."