Student government leaders discussed criteria for future campaigns with UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank in a meeting Monday.
Associated Students of Madison Legislative Affairs leaders emphasized choosing issues that affect all students in their daily lives on campus about which they will feel strongly and volunteer to support.
Committee leaders said the campaigns must deliver measurable results and be specific, attainable, relevant to student life and time-bound in order to be feasible.
Blank also discussed her own interests in legislative affairs and important issues facing the university today, specifically budgets.
Blank, who has a background in economics and worked for the White House under both the Clinton and Obama administrations, placed importance on understanding budgetary concerns.
“Budget policy, in my opinion, is the most important policy,” Blank said. “If you don’t understand budgets, you never really understand what is going on inside state legislature.”
She spoke specifically of the upcoming tuition freeze and how it will affect university funding. Blank said it is important to know where funds should be allocated.
Regarding tuition, Blank also pointed out that UW-Madison is currently well below market price for out-of-state tuition when compared to other Big Ten schools. She said a tuition freeze should apply primarily to in-state undergraduates.
“I want to make it clear that that tuition freeze language applies to in-state undergraduates,” Blank said.
She noted the possibility for increased revenue that would come with market-priced out-of-state tuition.
“Given the quality of this university, I just think we’re way underpricing it,” Blank added. “We subsidize undergraduates who are in-state, but our out-of-state students we should get market for.”
However, Blank also pointed out that any increase in tuition needs to be accompanied by financial aid increases, bringing up the crucial role that the diversity of backgrounds and experiences plays in education.
“I don’t want to threaten the diversity of experience that we bring to this university, particularly from out-of-state,” she said.
Dean of Students Lori Berquam addressed the importance of addressing student debt and the need for additional financial aid from the government so students can affordably earn an undergraduate degree without being overcome by debt.
“We need far more financial aid both on the state level and on the federal level, frankly, so that our students don’t have to shoulder so much,” Berquam said.