Student Action Team lobbies key issues in Springfield

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

The Student Action Team returned from Springfield Wednesday after lobbying two key issues, the proposed 31.5 percent budget cut to appropriated funds and the MAP Grant.

Shirmeen Ahmad, the student vice president for academic affairs, was one of the students to help oversee the process of the Student Action Team while they were in Springfield.

The Student Action Team brought 20 students split up into to two teams lobbying for the different issues.

“The main issue that we wanted to hit was the 31.5 percent cut that Rauner is proposing,” Ahmad said. “We were lobbying to make sure that we don’t get that hit of a cut and that the legislators vote on behalf of us and take that into consideration.”

The Springfield senators and representatives will be voting on the budget proposal before May 31.

“We’re already losing faculty, our students activities are dwindling because of the money, so this 31.5 percent is going to be a huge hit and we’re already in an enrollment crisis,” Ahmad said. “So, it’s going to let them know that we are university students, this is our education that they’re messing with and that’s not cool.”

Catie Witt, the executive vice president, said the trip went well in terms of the students successfully discussing the issue with the Springfield legislators.

“I think we did really well with Student Action Team just because we did have a lot of students that went,” Witt said. “Even before we started talking with legislators or speaking with other people at the capital, we already knew that they saw this sea of blue and that they knew what we were there for.”

Witt also said she knew the Student Action Team made an impact before anyone spoke because the Springfield legislators knew who they were.

The other issue that Student Action Team lobbied for was the MAP Grant for students, an issue that is always brought up each year by the students.

“Every single year, we would lobby on that because that is an important grant that out to different students on this campus, and for some of them it is a vital way that they pay for education,” Ahmad said. “We want them to vote in favor of the MAP Grant because if not, the funding gets cut from that and there are students that going to have to figure out some other way to pay.”

Ahmad also said that doing so would hurt Eastern as a whole, because if those students are not able to pay for their education, they will not choose to attend Eastern.

 

Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]