Influencing state legislature is focus for new service club

By Wesley Robinson

Two students wanted to dedicate some of their time to the community, so they established a UK chapter of a national service organization with hopes of influencing legislation to improve citizen’s lives this semester.

Co-founders Jeff Steller, a mathematical economics junior, and Mallory Brown, a nutrition and food science senior, began working in the spring to get the volunteer organization Results up and running. Members of the organization meet twice a month on Tuesdays in the Center for Student Involvement in the Student Center.

“I volunteer just because I care about people,” Brown said. “We are all technically one big family, and we owe it to each other to take care of one another.”

The purpose and goal of the organization is to give students a chance to speak out and get active but also to give students an opportunity to get involved in volunteering.

“I think it’s good when students get involved with their time, talents and money,” said Laura Hatfield, the Center for Community Outreach adviser.

“When students get involved, their passion gets heard,” said Hatfield, who is also the assistant director of student involvement in the center.

For the past three weeks, Results has been discussing how they could actively support the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill through drafting letters and hosting a phone-a-thon. The state bill is intended to expand Kentucky’s health for families with children under the age of 19 without insurance, Steller said, but it has been losing support within the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Results also decided to diversify the organization’s outreach this semester by supporting the Farm Bill, which subsidizes farmers’ produce.

Generally food stamps and welfare programs have been separate entities from the Farm Bill, but this bill combines them, Steller said.

Results is also working to help improve Head Start, a national school readiness program. Head Start programs across the nation are in danger of collapsing, specifically in Kentucky where programs are at an all-time low and where children with the greatest need in rural counties are being neglected, Steller said.

“Every single piece of legislation that gets passed directly affects your life,” Steller said. “If you’re not careful how the legislation is passed, it can have a big negative effect on you and the state.”

The next Results meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center for Student Involvement. Following that meeting will be a training session for any new volunteers or individuals who would like to get involved.