PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



‘Steps for State’ Walking From Old Main To Harrisburg, Advocating For Appropriations

When advocates march for a cause, their walk typically goes down a main street for a handful of blocks. It’s not often that supporters walk 114 miles in order to raise awareness for their cause.

The University Park Undergraduate Association, Penn State’s undergraduate student government, is doing just that over the next few days. On Sunday afternoon, a group of walkers departed from the Old Main steps heading to Harrisburg.

The “Steps for State” initiative is in its second year, walking for three days ahead of Capital Day on Tuesday. The UPUA is advocating for higher state appropriations to help alleviate high tuition costs for Penn State students.

UPUA president Anand Ganjam said that Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget, which allocates an additional $49 million to the university, is a big step toward lowering tuition.

“It’s much needed and it’s a start in the right direction. But it’s not enough,” Ganjam said. “I hope that the state senate takes that budget and approves it. But having a governor that is going to prioritize higher education and accessibility, especially for a land grant institution, is so critical for the future of this university.”

Ganjam said that the walk is a unique way for students to raise awareness for the need of higher appropriations and the inaccessibility of a Penn State education.

“We need to be able to mobilize and this type of thing catches media attention and catches the attention of people all the way from here to Harrisburg,” he said. “If we just go in there and sit down in those meetings with them, that’s their game. That’s what they’re used to doing. This is something that makes it bigger, that makes it stand out and makes a real impact.”

UPUA representative John Lombardo said that he was initially skeptical when Steps for State was presented last year. Representative John Wortman was the man behind the walk, and Wortman is known for being ambitious when it comes to student governance.

“I wasn’t sure that we would be able to do this logistically. I thought that it was a far-fetched idea and it was obviously a John Wortman idea, so I was concerned,” Lombardo said. “Once we put the work into planning the route and making sure everyone would be safe, I realized that it could be a great event for us.”

Lombardo, like many Penn State students, has paid a large portion of his tuition with student loans. He said that any decrease in tutition, even a couple thousand dollars, would be substantial in alleviating the financial debt of graduates.

“We have the second-highest in-state tuition rate in the country behind Pitt, so it’s obviously a problem with Pennsylvania schools and the amount of funding that they get,” he said. “Any increase in our state appropriation would be helpful.”

Wortman, who is no longer in UPUA, addressed the assembly a few weeks ago to advocate for funding the walk. He’s taking part in the march again this year, and for Wortman, a Robert F. Kennedy quote comes to mind.

“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why,” Wortman said, quoting Kennedy. “I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.


More by Zach

Penn Stater Named To Olympic Committee’s Centre for Safe Sport’s Inaugural Board

The Center for Safe Sport was recently created to tackle the issue of protecting America’s athletes. Penn State will be represented on the inaugural board by chief ethics and compliance officer Regis Becker.

A Valentine’s Day Trio Of Penn State Love Stories

Penn State To Celebrate 161st Birthday Next Week


Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Sophomore midfielder Shea Moyer scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute of a rainy season opener at Jeffrey Field.

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Student Life

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend