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This month, students involved with Greek life at Penn will have the opportunity to advocate for their fraternities and sororities in Washington, D.C.

These individuals are currently in the process of applying for an annual Washington-based event that provides Greeks with the opportunity to learn what it takes to be a lobbyist.

Each year, the undergraduate members and leaders of the North American Interfraternity Council, the National Panhellenic Council and the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations participate in a multi-day lobbying event on Capitol Hill, Associate Director of the Office of Student Affairs/ Fraternity and Sorority Life Stacy Kraus wrote in an email. This year, it will take place from April 21-25.

The biggest agenda item at April’s lobbying event will be the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act, Kraus wrote.

CHIA is a bill that, if passed by Congress, would aim to make Greek housing safer and more affordable for members of fraternities and sororities. The bill was at the forefront of the issues discussed at the event in spring 2010, according to a Daily Pennsylvanian article from April of that year.

The article reported that CHIA would allow for more than $1 billion in capital improvement projects for fraternity and sorority houses across the country.

Penn students hoping to participate in the event this year said they want to gain exposure to lobbying, in addition to advocating for Greek life. College senior Alex Zabierek, a member of Sigma Kappa sorority, said she is applying to attend the annual event for the first time this spring because she is interested in lobbying for public policy. She added that lobbying is “a huge force in the policy-making process.”

Over the summer, Zabierek helped lobby for environmental issues.

“[I] really enjoyed meeting one-on-one with legislators,” she said. “I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to gain more exposure to lobbying work.”

Penn students have also shown an interest in lobbying for other issues, including education. College sophomore Molly Sloss traveled to Harrisburg, Pa., through the StudentsFirst program — a non-profit unassociated with Penn — earlier this semester. She spent her time there speaking with senators and advocating for a bill concerning fair teacher evaluations.

“It was a very cool professional experience,” Sloss said. “I got to play grown up for the day.”

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