Why Capital Day was Important
Ali Fogarty is an on-campus representative in the UPUA’s Sixth Assembly.
Students from University Park and across the Commonwealth journeyed to Harrisburg yesterday with a goal of petitioning legislators to restore at least a portion of the 52.4% cut proposed by Governor Tom Corbett in his Pennsylvania budget proposal.
We met with legislators yesterday and rallied in the Rotunda. We even served Berkey Creamery ice cream in the hopes of reaching more people. Why? Because if we want to see revisions to the budgets and see a portion of our appropriations returned, activism will be necessary.
I had the opportunity to meet with legislators, alumni, and Penn State students from across the state. It didn’t matter where we came from. As we echoed in the Rotunda, we are all Penn State.
Most legislators I met yesterday seemed receptive to restoring part of the appropriations. Our state representatives and senators understand the plight of Penn State and aren’t trying to slight us. They are just trying to assure that this compromise isn’t one-sided. They want us to understand that to lower the cuts, Penn State will have to make its own cuts in returns. Times are difficult, and we need to work together to find common ground.
That is why events such as Capital Day are crucial. Lines of communication need to be established between all parties. Our state representatives are more than willing to work with us and hear our view if we make an effort and reach out to them at a personal level. If we are going to argue for change and plead for a minimized tuition increase, we need to be doing our part as well.
Going to Capital Day was relatively easy: transportation was provided and absences from classes were excused by the University. What more could CCSG, UPUA, and GSA do?
If we really want to see the budget amended we need to take initiative. As seen yesterday, sending representatives of the students works but the voices of 40,000 would resonate much louder. This isn’t an issue that can be resolved from the sidelines. If students are passionate about the future of Penn State, whether its appropriations or the academic impact they will have, and concerned about ever-increasing tuition, we need to be active and vocal. Attending Capital Day showed me that with a little effort, our legislators are wiling to work with us. However, we need to be willing to take the initiative. We are all Penn State. We are all affected by this.