Developing Caucus Platforms

Developing a caucus platform is an exercise used by each group intending to make a presentation to the larger Legislative Voice Academy and WACTCSA representatives. It is expected that each college make a presentation. This ensures student engagement and a rich conversation about issues impacting our system. Representation is key because participants should know how issues are impacting students throughout the state. The caucus experience is used throughout political organizations to help people communicate, learn about issues and develop a robust action agenda.

Step 1:  Brainstorm Caucus Platforms
A platform should be an issue that affects community and technical college students across the state, and should also be impacted by legislation. Ideas may be generated from: 

  • State Board Legislative News
  • Student Voice Academy – Issues Archive
  • Dialogue with students on campus about what is pressing or important
  • Student related bills in the legislature
  • National student legislative issues
  • Thoughts or comments from individual college legislative task force members, college administrators, and college relations offices

With Your Group: Develop your Caucus Platform
A platform is a position a student group takes on an issue impacting either their student body or the larger, state-wide student group. Each college is asked to develop a platform that will consist of this information:

  • Issue Title
  • Short issue description. Example: Plastic water bottles are harmful to the environment and our student body believes they should be banned from campus
  • 3 – 4 sentences describing why this issue is important to students
  • Include in your information whether this issue impacts just your college’s students, students in the region, or students state wide.
  • Include whether you want a law passed or if you believe the issue may be addressed with a policy statement.
  • Include any data you have used to develop your issue; like surveys or information from research you have done.
  • Each group should be able to address questions from the larger body.

Step 2:  Write Your Platform to the Following Guidelines

  • Proposed issues should be global in nature and have broad impact to community and technical college students in Washington State (e.g., not specific to a local college or geographic area); note this does not preclude issues impacting targeted groups from being proposed (i.e., students with disabilities, veteran’s, etc.) 
  • Issues can be related to the 2019-2020 legislative year 
  • Issues are to have an impact within a three year period – i.e., issues may be brought forward that have a chance of being adopted in a reasonable three year time period
  • Platform ideas should be generated from: 
    • State Board Legislative News 
    • Student related bills in the legislature 
    • Dialogue with students on campus about what is pressing or important – be sure to look for related bills in the legislature 
    • Track national student legislative issues 
    • Look at the Student Voice Academy – Issues Archive to get ideas on what was presented last year
  • Issues can be related to the SBCTC system, as a whole

Step 3:  Preparing Your Presentation – Given on Stage Friday Night Congratulations, you’ve identified your platform(s) and are now ready to prepare for the Academy. Each college will be limited to the presentation of two student issues. On Friday evening (after dinner) each college will have a four (4) minutes to present each issue to other academy attendees. To maximize the four minutes, we recommend you follow this presentation structure:

  • Introductions, Your Name(s) and College
  • Statement of the Issue – this describes your issue in a couple of sentences.
  • Relevant Data – this supports why are you are asking for change.
  • Proposed Solution – this is the change you are seeking. This could be a law or a policy statement.
  • Call to Action – What do you want?

All presentations should tie back to the platform guideline development; global in nature, related to the 19-20 legislative year, related to the system, have an impact within 3 years.

Bring your presentation on a thumb drive. It’s a good idea to also email the presentation to yourself just in case your thumb drive doesn’t work. Remember, you only have four minutes. Give the academy attendees the highlights of your platform. You’ll have a chance tomorrow at your Table Display to talk in more details about your platform and share handouts.

Step 4:   Preparing Your Table Display
To compliment your four minute presentation, academy attendees are encouraged to bring handouts, materials, testimonials and other documents to make your case during the caucus time on Saturday morning.