The bus left at 8:12am from Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, Pa. The mission: convince PA legislatures that PASSHE funding is significantly beneficial to students and to the state.
Any student in the PASSHE system can understand, funding to the PASSHE institutions is important to the achievement of over 100,000 students across the state both from Pa and out of state. That’s exactly what Dr. Anderson, MU’s President; Ann Womble, MU Trustee; Steven DiGuiseppe, assistant vice-president for advancement; Randi Chrismer, Student Senate President; Justin Pierre, Student Senator and the other 13 PASSHE institutions were trying to convince Pa legislatures April 15 on the hill in Harrisburg, Pa and, with the new funding proposal that Governor Wolf has proposed, this day could not have been any better timed.
Governor Wolf’s plan includes supplementing hundreds of millions of dollars back to state education with funds gathered from added taxable items and services, bumping the sales tax percentage up 0.6 percent. This increase in state revenue is what prompted the Governor to request a tuition freeze from all the PASSHE schools for the next five years. This proposal to freeze tuition was passed by the Board of Governors with the stipulation that the Pennsylvania Senate would need to pass the budget for tax increases to be able to fund the universities.
All day, the representatives from each of the PASSHE institutions met with their respective representatives and senators to talk about how state funding helps their students achieve.
MU’s advocates, Randi Chrismer and Justin Pierre, spoke about how Millersville and in turn the state of Pennsylvania have made a difference in their lives.
When asked about how advocating in person makes a difference Pierre stated that when legislatures see the faces of those being affected by decisions made by the government it’s more effective then just seeing dollars and cents on a budget spreadsheet, it adds a personal touch to the billions budgeted each year.
Both Chrismer and Pierre shared very personal details about why they came to Millersville and how it has helped them achieve in personal and professional goals by preparing them with “the tools needed for success.”
While Chrismer, Pierre, Anderson and Womble were meeting with the legislators, the Millersville robotics program and meteorology program were setup in the east-wing rotunda, showing off some of the cool things that Millersville is doing. This included the robotics team’s award-winning robot that competed across the country this year. Along with Millersville were the other 13 universities showing off the best their school had to offer showing the worthwhile work that PASSHE schools are producing.
Chrismer and Pierre also had the opportunity to be recognized by the House of Representatives and Senate of Pa and be put in the official minutes of Pa’s congress.
Advocacy Day seemed to be a very effective day for the state institutions. In each meeting, the senators and representatives had nothing but good to say about how the universities are producing advantageous professionals and how the programs are valuable to the state.
“The State System universities offer an extraordinary range of leading-edge learning opportunities for students,” State System Chancellor Frank Brogan said in a statement. “Some of those will be on display. We hope to demonstrate throughout the day what a good investment our universities are for the Commonwealth.”
Though the state budget is still being debated on between the governor and the rest of Congress, it is unknown how this new proposal will truly affect the state. It is in high hopes that now that the voting members of Congress have a personal touch with their effected citizens, the state will provide a plan that is beneficial to all.