From a graduating class of 27 students in Bruneau, Idaho, to treading the state capitol steps lobbying for student interests and rights, Joe Black has his future in his sights.
Each year, a student is selected to work with the University’s legislative liaison in Boise. This year, Black, a public relations and political science senior, spent the legislative session in the state’s capital, interning as a registered lobbyist and taking a full course load online.
“It was such an invaluable experience: it was absolutely 100 percent worth it,” says Black. “I learned classic lessons that were translated into real life right away, it was do or fail.”
Black helped keep students informed about what was going on at the state legislature and was the voice for students through his work in Boise. This year, he was a voice for students during the discussion about firearms on campus.
“I never thought when I was going into this that I was going to go up against the National Rifle Association – and win,” says Black.
In addition, he organized the Legislative Day for lawmakers at the state capitol. He helped coordinate the efforts of 40 students who spent the day talking with their legislators about the University’s activities. About 80 percent of state legislators attended the program, a larger-than-usual number, and the day was proclaimed University of Idaho Education Day by the governor.
He also initiated a writing campaign—900 postcards signed by students in Moscow and delivered to legislators in Boise—about issues concerning University students, with a focus on how a decrease in state funding would impact students.
Black says he gained a lot from his time in Boise, and he hopes the experience will prepare him to pursue a career as a press secretary or media professional, maybe one day in the governor’s office, where he can reflect back on the days he was the student voice for the University of Idaho.