INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLF) - Graduate students from Purdue's Department of Public Health got in action at the Indiana Statehouse on Monday. A group of about 15 graduate students carpooled to the Indiana Statehouse, leaving West Lafayette at 7 a.m. The group wasted no time once they arrived.
This was the first time for lobbying for many of the group.
"It's just quick in and out minutes with them but it's a great opportunity, it's a learning experience for all of us," said CheKenna Fletcher, who is a first-year graduate student, originally from Tennessee.
Fletcher was part of the group who spoke with State Representative Chris Campbell, who shared how much she enjoyed talking with the students.
"Sometimes they are the experts so we need their input and we want to make sure we are representing our constituents," said Rep. Campbell.
The bills on their agenda had a wide range. From a rights for sexual assault victims bill to a mental health services bill. They also advocated for lowering the colon cancer testing age and growing substance use recovery services, among other bills.
"Just different things that we think are important for us as people in the state of Indiana that should get passed," said Fletcher.
Group coordinator Lauren Murfree said these advocacy skills will help the group in the future.
"We want to make sure our students at Purdue are engaged on these issues and they are being informed as master in public health students," she said. "So that when they become public health officials or professionals in nonprofits or at the state level that they know how to engage on these issues."
When students weren't talking to legislators, they were writing letters. But Fletcher said the face time they got with leaders was key.
"I like to talk to people one on one because you get to meet the person, get to know who they are, what their motives are and why it's important to them," she said.
This was the first time Purdue MPH students lobbied at the Indiana Statehouse, but they hope to continue this program in the future. The 2020 legislative session ends on March 13th.