Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Students Lobby the State Legislature to Restore MAP Money

This post was submitted by David Kanis.

Three students from the Department of Chemistry and Physics joined two dozen CSU students and thousands of students from campuses across the State to lobby the State to restore MAP (Monetary Assistance Program) for the spring semester.  Rachel Hawkins (chemistry), Bryant Ukaigwe (chemistry), and Christopher McDaniel (chemistry) joined Dr. Kanis in the Springfield lobbying effort.  MAP is the State program which provides financial aid to nearly 140,000 low income students annually.  Lawmakers totally cut the MAP Program out of the State budget beginning in the spring semester.  If the MAP money had not been restored, numerous CSU students would have had to drop out of college, and thus this group went to Springfield to make their voices heard on this important issue.

The group left CSU at 8:30 am on October 15, took a three hour bus trip to Springfield, and joined in a large rally next to the State capitol.  At the end of the rally the departmental  group shook hands with Governor Quinn, with Rachel Hawkins getting her picture taken with the grand poobah himself!  The departmental group visited the offices of their elected State Representatives as well as those representing districts in the vicinity of the campus.  The group visited both houses of the legislature while they were in session, and then went over to the Senate side and visited the offices of their senators.  They spent 15 minutes talking to Senator Kwame Raoul (Hyde Park) about CSU.  The entire CSU group also met with Senator Donne Trotter (Chatham, and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee).  While traveling to Senator Trotter’s Office, the CSU group was frightened when the elevator they were in fell two stories!  The group, visibly shaken, quickly exited the elevator and used the stairs for the remainder of the day! 

Every legislator the group met with talked about the importance of restoring the MAP money.  The group was present when the Senate debated and then passed the resolution demanding that the Governor to restore the MAP funds.  The House had passed the resolution earlier in the day.  After a very busy and tiring day, the group took the three hour bus ride back to CSU while watching the movie Transformers I.  On October 19, 2009, the governor signed the bill restoring $200 million in MAP money for the spring semester!  Kudos to our students for doing such a great job on behalf of thousands of CSU students who could not attend the event!

Thanks to Brent Jones, CSU photographer, for the picture of our CSU representatives under the dome.

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