There’s calling your representatives, there’s writing your representatives and then there’s meeting your representatives.
Three Bradley students and one administrator were able to do just that on Thursday when they traveled to Springfield as part of Private College Student Lobby Day.
“It was very productive,” said Brad McMillan, executive director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service. “Our Bradley students … were able to make a strong case for MAP scholarship funds.”
MAP Grants were the key focus of the day for Bradley’s coalition.
“I am a recipient of the MAP Grant,” said Liz Scoville, sophomore English secondary education major. “So (Thursday) was really important for me.”
She was able to speak to Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon about the important role the need-based grant plays not just for Bradley students, but for students across the state.
“If the MAP Grant were to reduce or disappear entirely, it’s possible that I’d have to drop out of school,” Scoville said. “It’s beyond my control that I need substantial financial help.”
It’s the same for the 1,600 BU students, and tens of thousands more across the state, who rely on the grant to help pay tuition bills.
Though the state is facing what is likely its worse financial crisis since its founding 200 years ago, Scoville felt her message hit home with those who have some say in where dollars are allocated.
“I thought I would just be another face in the crowd,” she said. “So I’m really excited about the progress that we’ve made.”
Nick Swiatkowski, the student body president, said it was exciting to discuss what the MAP means for Bradley with local legislators.
“It would be exciting to work with (them) in the future,” he said. “We got to go to different state representatives and different state senators and discuss the issues and how they affect our university. They were all very receptive.”
For sophomore public relations major Camille Ivy-O’Donnell, the day was as much a learning experience as anything else.
“I loved it,” she said. “It was a great experience overall. We got to learn a lot about the process of voting in the Senate and the House.”
The group was part of the state-wide lobby day, which brought schools from across the state to the capitol. The MAP Grants were the focus as last year they almost lost all funding and earlier this year the government cut a little more than $100 from aid packages.