The NIRSA Government Affairs Committee has been reconstituted from the former NIRSA Policy and Legislation Committee; the committee was evolved to better meet the needs of the Association. The Government Affairs Committee will continue to focus on legislative issues being discussed on the state and U.S. federal levels and will determine what stance, if any, NIRSA will take on them.

The committee’s charges place additional emphasis on setting a policy agenda for the Association and prioritizing communication and education around emerging issues. The new committee’s formulation and extended tenure of committee membership, provides sustainability and continuity to legislative matters that sometimes takes years to manifest in the local and national political process. This committee is comprised of members from all U.S. regions within NIRSA. Members of the committee will serve staggered three-year terms to provide continuity of conversation and work.

As the Government Affairs Committee, the charges set forth by the NIRSA Board of Directors are to:

  • Bring to light relevant issues related to public policy/legislation that impacts collegiate recreation and higher education
  • To educate the membership about the above issues, any appropriate resources available, and any action the membership may take in response to or preparation with respect to their individual campuses
  • The committee will make recommendations to the Board on the appropriate action to be taken on these issues and, if necessary, a formal response by NIRSA
  • To use and keep relevant the discussion forum, resource library, and the Community of Practice under the NIRSA website as a means of sharing information
  • Submit avenues with which the membership can have a voice and become more educated and stay current on policy and legislative issues that may affect their own campuses

Our primary purpose is to bring awareness to the NIRSA membership regarding issues that may directly affect what they do on their campuses or how a proposed bill may impact collegiate recreation and higher education in general.

Issues which we have discussed in the past most notably include the Fair Labor Standards Act. Raising the salary threshold, which for years was used to determine eligibility for overtime pay, was actively considered; a revision to this policy could have had serious impacts on budgets.

Another topic involved Second Amendment rights to carry open or concealed weapons on campuses. Most recently, topics concerning gender identification have risen. All of these topics—whether they’ve been passed on not—can have serious effects on our budgets, ways of operating our programs, and how programs are implemented and facilities are designed.

We want to hear from you

As this committee searches for broad ranging information that may affect different parts of the country locally—and possibly all campuses nationally—we would like to know what you, as the membership of NIRSA, would like us to commit our energies to. The committee strives to provide information on advocacy, resources, and plans of action as a unified body of leaders in collegiate recreation. However, we want to know if there are any topics in your areas that we could have a voice about and provide relevant information to the membership concerning pros and cons. Fill out the Government Affairs Committee Survey to let us know what’s on your mind today.

Take the survey

Government Affairs Committee Members

Full roster details are available on the NIRSA website, but the current committee roster includes:

  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships Erin O’Sullivan.
Director at University of South Carolina Upstate | NIRSA Profile

Mark Ritter is currently the Director at the University of South Carolina Upstate. He currently serves on the Government Affairs Committee.