Since the 2018 midterm elections, Americans have raised their expectations for their elected representatives to work on behalf of all citizens for the betterment of the nation. As a political science and public policy double major with a minor in business, I have always had a keen interest in public service and the governmental institutions that work in collaboration with entrepreneurs and small businesses. After working for Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Michael Burgess on Capitol Hill in the summer of 2018, I became even more enthusiastic about working for change on the national level.
This past April, I had the opportunity to lobby on Capitol Hill, with 80 other college students from across the country chosen to represent the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition. Selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants, I was honored to have the opportunity to meet with legislators and hill staffers to advocate for the reauthorization of the Higher Education, End All Hazing and REACH Acts.
These pieces of legislation covered broad issues that I had studied in-depth, and I was able to engage in meaningful discussion with staffers who concentrated on the policies at hand. After conversations with Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., I felt as though I had been afforded legitimate opportunities to advocate on behalf of students across the country.
Our approach was optimistic, yet resolute. Our message was simple: “We are trying to set a foundation for our peers that will bridge the divide between universities and the outside world. We want to work for a future in which every student is afforded the same opportunities. Where you come from does not determine how far you go in life.”
Each time I walked into a congressional office, a wave of nervousness overcame me, but quickly subsided as I began speaking for initiatives that affect hundreds of thousands of college students across the country.
The overarching piece of legislation, the Higher Education Act (HEA), focuses on the reauthorization of initiatives such as the prevention of organizational hazing, the affordability of higher education, and the freedom of students to associate with any organization they choose. My experience as a Kenan Scholar allowed me to discuss these proposals from a perspective of familiarity with the issues students face on an individual basis, and how they fit into the larger public sector framework.
I am incredibly thankful for this experience, and have come to realize that my passion does lie in public service. In fact, the opportunity led to a chance for me to return to Capitol Hill this summer. Thanks to the generous support of the Kenan Scholars program, I will be working as an intern for former Navy SEAL and newly-elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas. Without the Kenan Scholars and UNC, I would not be where I am now, and never would have been able to achieve the goals that I set for myself and my future.
I have always had a keen interest in public service and the governmental institutions that work in collaboration with entrepreneurs and small businesses.Reeves Moseley (BA ’21), Kenan Scholar