27 December 2007

Learning More IS Doing Something: HESA and Focus the Nation

This past year, I signed on to be an ACRL Legislative Advocate. It has been a fascinating appointment in the huge machine of ALA: I send information about important legislative issues out into my community to rally support from my college and immediate community while informing them of the issues that impact their ability to access information as well as remind them of their power as voters.

One particular issue that I am excited to support is the HIGHER EDUCATION SUSTAINABILITY ACT. Here is an update by Kara Malenfant, our contact as Legislative Advocates:

On November 9, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller unveiled the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (HR 4137) that reauthorizes the Higher Education Act. At the request of many of the 17 co-sponsors of HESA, Chairman Miller included HESA in HR 4137.

Subsequently the Higher Education Sustainability Act of 2007 (S. 2444) was introduced into the Senate on December 11 by Senator Patty Murray. HESA is co-sponsored by Senators Bingaman, Dodd, Kennedy, and Kerry. Such a powerful list of Democratic co-sponsors puts HESA in an excellent position.

The House is expected to vote in mid-January on the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (HR 4137) that reauthorizes the Higher Education Act and also includes HESA. If it passes, then the conference between the House and Senate (which has already passed their new Higher Education act) should occur shortly thereafter. This conference will decide which of the 30+ new programs including HESA make it into the final bill.

Forget crossing my fingers: I am putting this out there for anyone and everyone that reads this blog to contact your congressional representatives to support HESA. Environmental literacy is vital to our ability to fight global warming in a longterm, sustainable, and proactive way. Turn your community on to it.

And, if you haven't heard of Focus that Nation, check it out! Champlain is joining more than 1000 other institutions nation-wide on January 31st to bring our attention to finding solutions for Global Warming. Champlain is excited to welcome Bill McKibben as our keynote speaker and we have a bunch of events lined up. It is not to late to bring Focus the Nation to your school! If nothing else, to put up a display on climate change. Make your library a partner in change! I always remind students that learning more is doing something.

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