We experience change in many different ways. It’s often evident through adjustments in institutional procedures or when there’s realignment within an organizational structure. However, we may underestimate the extent of change initiated by federal and state policy and legislative issues.

The latest policy and legislative issues are shaping our campus communities and impacting how our members operate each day. The Government Affairs Committee believes it’s responsible for researching, prioritizing, and then communicating the initiatives that may impact students and professionals within collegiate recreation.

The committee’s stance is simple: We support the actions that advance positive student development and support the professionals responsible for that development. However, when you break down the policy and legislation responsible for creating those actions, one quickly finds that things are far from black and white. The committee members represent a variety of regions, roles, and experiences—this allows them to provide a holistic NIRSA member perspective.

In my role as the student member, I have the opportunity to provide the student perspective on issues like college affordability and the current state of mental health and wellbeing on our campuses. With the combined experiences and unique perspectives of the committee, I believe that we can provide the NIRSA membership and, as needed, the Board of Directors with information to ensure NIRSA has a voice at the larger higher education policy table.

Being a part of the Government Affairs Committee has allowed me to become more than a student or NIRSA member. I serve as an advocate to help untangle the complex web of policy and legislation with the goal of ultimately benefitting the members of NIRSA and strengthening our campus communities.

Our committee cannot do this alone. Check out the Policy Pages in NIRSA Connect to stay up to date on the most current issues. These are placed in the NIRSA Discussions Library under the “Member Benefits” folder. We encourage feedback and ideas to help expand the breadth of our conversations, so please reach out to me and the other committee members to share your thoughts.


  • For more information, contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships, Erin O’Sullivan.
Graduate Administrative Associate - Competitive Sports at The Ohio State University | NIRSA Profile

Derrick Applewhite Jr. is currently the Graduate Administrative Associate - Competitive Sports at The Ohio State University. He serves on the Government Affairs Committee.