Following President Trump's recent executive order on immigration, one graduate student felt a grassroots event — called "Call Your Members of Congress" — could potentially change future political outcomes.

Graduate student Carli Hendershot organized the event and said she wanted to provide a "safe space" for others to encourage and contact their congressional officials.  Hendershot is a member of Muncie Resistors, a collective group of people striving to preserve democracy and advocate for social justice in the sixth district. She said members of the group have been contacting representatives to share their concerns and what they want to see.

"I recognize that it can be a little intimidating to contact your legislators, especially when talking about issues that mean deeply to you," Hendershot said. "I think it is important to contact your representative, they need to know how their constituents feel, and if they don't get any contact with them,  how are they supposed to know how they feel and what they truly want?"

A variety of Ball State students, alumni and employees attended the event to call their representatives about certain topics that are on the state and national political agendas, including Senate Bill 285, Betsy Devos' Confirmation, the Affordable Care Act repeal and the current immigration ban.

Women's and gender studies instructor Cheri Ellefson attended the event and said she felt strongly about Senate Bill 285 — which would put restrictions on protestors — calling it "ridiculous" and "unnecessary." 

"It has already been demonstrated that the protesters have acted peacefully and also in cooperation with the police, so it's just more unnecessary legislation wasting people's time," Ellefson said."You have to have a permit to even have a protest, and this one, obviously the people behind the scenes worked very hard to make sure the permit happened and that was the same in every single city where there was a protest."

Junior architecture and philosophy major Ben Slightom said he came to the event because he is concerned for the "rights of his peers" under the current leaders of the United States. Particularly concerned about Betsy Devos, Slightom said he wants to make sure that the "right decisions" are being made for those in academia. 

"I'm worried about how my own family will be affected by the kinds of restrictions on personal rights and public liberties that the new administration seems to be bent on pushing forward," Slightom said. "Education is in for an incredibly tough time, not only in the state of Indiana but the country."

Although callers left messages on their congressional representative's phones after hours, Hendershot said she's determined to hold another similar event in the future.

"With the political climate within the past year, I think its been very important to contact your representative," she said. "I'm definitely looking into doing more events like this with the community, not just with Ball State students but with faculty, staff."