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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Over 400 People Cram the State House on Education Advocacy Day

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On March 8th students from college campuses across the state piled into the state house to champion the need for public funding of education. Union leaders and education advocacy groups supported the students. There were many families in attendance. Over 400 people were present and eager to share their story of personal struggle with their state senator.

The event known as “Proper title of event”, was organized by a coalition of groups including: the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts, (PHENOM) UMass Amherst Center for Education Policy and Advocacy, the Mass Teachers Union, and The Student Advisory Council to the Board of Higher Education.

UMass Amherst, Bristol Community College Spring field Tech Community College. Bunker Hill Community College, UMass Lowell, and UMass Dartmouth, had the largest numbers of students in attendance.

“I heard from a lot of students at the event that they were going to keep organizing, they were going take the message back to their campuses and communities”, said PHENOM organizer Ferd Wulkan. Wulkan believes that persistent effort on the part of students will turn the issue of public funding for higher education into a national concern.

“Students shouldn’t ever feel afraid to meet with their legislators on their own, outside of lobby day” Elizabeth Marie Hedrick UMass Boston student and PHENOM treasurer said. It’s normal to feel nervous and we can arrange for another student to go with them,” Hedrick said encouraging students to continue to be vocal about the need for public funding.

Chairmen of the Board of Higher education, and event speaker Charles Desmond, also spoke of higher education funding as a national problem stating at the event, “Massachusetts should become a leader in the country in terms of providing affordable, high quality education.”

Undergraduate Student Government president Travis Henderson met with district representative to the UMass Boston area Representative Nick Collins. During their discussion Collins agreed to add an amendment to the state budget, increasing public funding by 5% and increase the state scholarship fund by 5%

The state budget will be voted on late April. Collins encouraged students to lobby to their representatives to support the amendment as the vote day draws near.

Henderson described the meeting with Collins as “a productive use of time. It was a successful meeting.”

The budget will be made in April and voted on late April. Collins suggested that we lobby to our representatives around that time.

“Students shouldn’t ever feel afraid to meet with their legislators on their own, outside of a lobby day. It’s normal to feel nervous and we can arrange for another student to go with them.” Elizabeth Marie Hedrick said. She is a UMB student and PHENOM treasurer.