UC Hastings students demonstrated their dedication to the school and its commitment to public service at the annual “Day in Sacramento” this past May.
About a dozen students, alumni and faculty gathered at the Capitol in Sacramento to advocate for the Governor’s funding plan for higher education and continued support of UC Hastings. Advocacy teams spent the day meeting with state legislators, their staff, and other policy makers. They had three key goals: 1) to engage legislators in discussing UC Hastings and its public mission , 2) support Governor Brown’s funding plan and its continuation of stable student fees and 3) advocate for state support for summer public interest fellowships to put the school on par with other UC law schools. UC Hastings’ role in educating lawyers who will serve the legal needs of all Californians and continuation of UC Hastings’ venerable legacy of producing leaders of the bar, the private sector, and government clearly resonated.
Jorgio Castro ’15, was one of the student advocates. A Tenderloin native, Castro said his main goal was to ensure the state is considering UC Hastings as a budget priority, especially when it comes to funding public interest programs.
“So many students spend their summers doing public interest work, often right here in the Tenderloin, and some of them get paid nothing which makes it difficult for students facing real life financial situations,” said Castro. “We have to be dedicated to funding these public interest opportunities, that get UC Hastings students "ready for the world," and ready to serve California. California needs to support them. And for me, UC Hastings Advocacy Day was about acting to make that support a reality.”
The day kicked off in the lower level of the State Capitol Building, where legislators, staff and UC Hastings students, alumni, Board of Directors and trustees gathered for a breakfast mixer. After a briefing by Professor Michael Salerno and Chief Financial Officer David Seward, advocacy teams comprised of students and alumni engaged in more than 25 meetings with state legislators throughout the day.
“It was a long day but a great experience. We got a lot of really good feedback from state officials and had the opportunity to work collaboratively with UC Hastings Board of Directors, faculty and staff,” said Castro.
“By all accounts the day was a success! The teams’ composition blending student and alumni leaders conveyed well the school’s historical, multi-generational commitment to access, social mobility and a public mission. The advocacy teams presented the talking points persuasively and with great clarity and synchronization. It was as if they’d been doing this for years - some have in fact,” said Seward.
In June, Governor Edmund Brown signed the new annual budget that maintained student fees unchanged for the fourth consecutive year, an outcome influenced by students work during the advocacy day. Additionally, the budget allocates an additional $1 million for the operating budget and $36.8 million for a new academic building to be located at 333 Golden Gate Avenue.