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SHED lobbies South Dakota Legislature in Pierre

Students in Higher Education Days (SHED) is a student lobbying group that goes to Pierre during the legislative session to encourage the legislature to pass certain bills. SHED takes place on Jan. 30 and 31. The first day students get training on how to lobby and they get together for a social. On day two, there is a Student Federation meeting and students are given the chance to talk with state legislatures.  

Carson Sehr, the executive director for SHED, said that students from universities across South Dakota come to discuss issues that they face at their schools.  

“A lot of schools discussed building projects on campuses and cultural issues and academic freedom,” Sehr said. “When we discuss these things, we can see that a lot of schools in South Dakota face similar issues.” 

By participating in this event, students are given the chance to advocate for their universities and get the experience of what it is like to be part of a legislative session.  

Caleb Weiland, the Chair of the South Dakota Student Federation, said that SHED this year looked unique compared to previous years.  

“This year’s SHED was very successful with over 50 attendees from Universities across South Dakota,” Weiland said. “This year was also unique because the legislature has more funding than usual, so there are more opportunities for schools to receive funding.” 

Schools across the state were given the chance to receive funds for capital projects at their universities. These projects may vary between each school and depend on the university and their needs. SHED students must be prepared to explain why each capital project is important to their university.  

Both the USD Wellness Center and the Churchill-Haines Lab renovations were two capital projects supported by SHED for USD. The funds for the Churchill-Haines Lab renovation have been approved. Weiland explained that to get approval for a bill all members on the board must agree, if anyone votes no, the bill is denied. Students must be prepared to debate and find the best solution for each school.  

“We have to understand each project and how it can affect each university differently,” Weiland said. “We have to put our differences aside and think about what is best for our universities.”  

Both Weiland and Sehr explained that SHED offers many chances to get out of your comfort zone and that any student can get involved if they are interested.  

“This event is a great chance to network and understand how other schools SGA’s work,” Weiland said. “We were able to talk as students and come to agreements despite our differences, we supported capital projects for each school with or without the BOR’s approval.”