A few Tuesdays ago, I was given the opportunity to speak with several lawmakers in the New York State Capitol about something that is very near (and dear) to my own heart and I’m sure most students’ hearts… financial aid.
Student Advocacy Day is an annual day at the Capitol Building in Albany where students essentially lobby for programs such as TAP (tutition assitance program) and various opportunity programs (C-step and HEOP). Students are encouraged to share personal struggles and triumphs in order to encourage policians to support the various programs.
In all, there were over a dozen Utica College students there to represent our student body. I had friends come from out of state and even out of the country, because most people can see how essential state aid is to some of our most deserving classmates and friends.
I recieve New York State funding, and for that I am grateful. My mother worked hard to get me where I am, but when it came time to choose a school…money was a huge factor in my decision. Fortunately, I was awarded some UC scholarships and the rest of the cost was substantially cut because of my aid. I was fortunate to have people rooting for students like me in the Capitol building.
So, I looked at Advocacy Day as a way to give back. I wanted to be present and share my story, as a graduating senior, so others would be able to have the same experiences that I have had. Plus, the day in a whole was so fun! We got to meet influential lawmakers and even had a tour of the New York State Capitol building, a day well spent if you ask me!