For about a month, students have been witnesses to and participants in true democracy.
The student-led campaign to reinstate MAP grant funding was not only a unique experience as it proved that students can make a difference, but that Bradley student leaders are willing to.
Through a network of colleges from across the Prairie State, students were able to influence legislators to reinstate the $204 million program. And the importance of that decision will be even clearer next semester when a quarter of Bradley’s students don’t have to find an extra $2,000 or so to pay tuition.
The MAP grants benefit students who often wouldn’t be able to go to school without the extra funding, and the loss of that funding would have been disastrous not only to schools, but to the state, nation and world.
And from where we sit, Bradley and its students have much to be proud of in regards to the fight for MAP.
The pursuits of Bradley’s student government have been much more ambitious over the last few years, but the push for MAP grants was second to none. Leaders recognized the potential loss of MAP grant funds was a problem larger than anyone on the Hilltop had faced in the last year.
First-term Student Body President Kyle Malinowski and the rest of Student Senate rose to the occasion, and we commend them for it.
Not only did senate show concern, but it got students to care and become active participants in fighting the cause.
Malinowski and Student Body Treasurer Patrick Campbell formed a MAP grant committee that organized a summit for student leaders from across the state and took part in a protest at the state’s capitol.
What is perhaps most unique about this is that neither Malinowski nor Campbell are from Illinois.
Judging by their actions, no one would have guessed that the loss of the grant wouldn’t have impacted either of them.
But student leaders aren’t the only ones on campus that deserve recognition.
After a few years of being rated among the most apathetic campus in the nation, Bradley students rose to the occasion, writing letters, making phone calls to their legislators. The fact that Bradley students made up about 20 percent of the number of students at last week’s rally is amazing.
This averted crisis seems to have breathed a unique life back into the student body.
As the student body government, senate has shown it is willing to pursue action and make changes to positively impact the student body. But what they’ve also shown is that we can make a difference – which is something every student should keep in mind.
While the university obviously took great measures to help further this cause, between MAP meetings and providing busses to Springfield, most of responsibility lies with the student body.
Let’s keep it up.