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Penn Staters To Rally In Harrisburg For State Support

By Geoff Rushton

For the seventh consecutive year, members of the Penn State community will travel to the state Capitol in Harrisburg to rally for state support and talk with legislators about the impact of state appropriations for the university.

Capital Day, scheduled for April 5, is coordinated by the Penn State Grassroots Network to bring together volunteers, alumni, student government groups, and students in the Schreyer Honors College with elected officials.

“I’ve been very grateful over the years for the continued support of dedicated alumni and students — Capital Day just wouldn’t happen without them,” Grassroots Network Director Alan Janesch said in a statement.

Penn Staters will have scheduled office visits with legislators to talk to them about how state funds help keep tuition costs down and ensure in-state tuition discounts.They will also tell legislators about how the Commonwealth’s support keeps educational programs and campuses strong, helps student career success and boosts economic development in Pennsylvania.

Individuals who can’t be there in person can still support the effort. The university is encouraging supporters to use #PSUCapitalDay on social media to show support and follow the day’s events. Janesch added that encouraging legislators to support Penn State requires year-round effort.

“Capital Day is a very important event, but in the life of a legislator, it’s just one day,” Janesch said. “For alumni and friends who can’t attend — and even those who can — it’s important to stay in touch with their elected officials on a regular basis and try to build a personal, long-term relationship with them. When you tell your legislator about the issues that are important to you — face to face, on the phone, or via a note or an email — the issues come alive for them.”

Capital Day approaches as the state has still not passed a 2015-16 budget, more than eight months into a stalemate between the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf. Penn State is among the many institutions and organizations statewide that are experiencing or expect significant impacts if they do not receive state funding. Student government leaders and administrators from Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities, which include Penn State, went to Harrisburg earlier this month to urge legislators to pass the budget.

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