As posted on the University of Illinois OVPR blog, nearly 200 students from all three campuses joined forces to participate in University of Illinois Student Lobby Day in Springfield. This annual event brings students together to deliver a unified message to lawmakers on behalf of the U of I. As the University faces a proposed 31.5% ($209 million) budget cut, our message to legislators is more important now than ever.
University of Illinois President Robert Easter, Alumni Association President & CEO Loren Taylor, and State Senator Scott Bennett all welcomed and thanked the students for their participation.
Illinois Connection, the grassroots advocacy network at U of I that coordinated Lobby Day, scheduled meetings for students with state senators and representatives from their hometown districts. In addition to giving students the opportunity to represent the University in the Capitol, they learned about state government by observing House and Senate sessions.
Students met with their district legislators as well as those from other districts. They voiced concerns about how reduced funding for the University of Illinois would threaten the quality of education, decrease campus excellence, drive away current faculty and provide less incentive for future hires, deplete the state’s talent pipeline, and negatively impact the overall student experience. The bottom line is that the University of Illinois wants to partner with the state during this fiscal crisis, but the institution cannot bear the burden of these cuts.
Thank you to everyone who participated in U of I Student Lobby Day 2015! We played a significant role in the Capitol and our efforts did not go unnoticed. It is vital that students and other friends of the U of I continue to spread the message about how the University impacts the entire state and why these cuts will be detrimental to our success and your long-term stability. Please engage in our social media campaign (#UIllinoisLobbyDay and #ImpactUIllinois) to help us tell our story.