Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Supporters lobby for state funding during U of I Day at the Capitol



Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni members spent the day lobbying lawmakers for state funding during University of Illinois Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 21.

The annual event was organized by the U of I Alumni Association as a way for people to demonstrate their support for all three University of Illinois campuses.

“We are almost a half a billion dollars that the state is indebted to the university. Today is really about engaging the legislators and getting them to understand how bad the problems (are),” said Derek Felix, UIS student representative on the U of I Board of Trustees.

The day began with a lunch briefing and review of key messages. Throughout the afternoon, participants met with legislators and staff.

“What we’re trying to get them to understand is in dollars spent at the University of Illinois by the state returns back to the state usually 13 times every dollar that’s put in it,” said Edward McMillan, University of Illinois trustee.

The lobbying group from UIS was made up of both students and faculty. They met with local representatives like Senator Larry Bomke of Springfield to share their stories about how the financial problems are affecting them.

“We will get paid. It’s just a matter of when. I hope it’s a lot sooner than later,” said Felix.

McMillan says it’s important to have students meeting with their lawmakers directly. He’s especially glad to have a campus full of politically minded students right in the capital city.

“We’re very blessed to have this campus at Springfield to be part of the University of Illinois system,” said McMillan.

At the end of the day, alumni, students, legislators, UIAA leaders and University officials held a reception at the State Library.

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