University students head to Springfield for Student Advocacy Day

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Students from all three University of Illinois campuses will head to Springfield, Ill. this Tuesday for Student Advocacy Day at the capitol. Students will be given the opportunity to lobby the Illinois legislature on behalf of the University system. 

In the past, the annual event was a joint effort between students and alumni. This year, there will be two separate events: a student-focused day and an alumni-trustee day at the capitol, said Marissa McCord, assistant vice president for alumni advocacy at the University of Illinois Alumni Association.  

The event is open to all University of Illinois students, who are encouraged to voice their thoughts on issues around campus.

“One of the things they’re talking about is the alcohol immunity bill, which gives students who help students get home safely immunity from receiving a drinking ticket,” said Jenny Baldwin, vice president-internal of Illinois Student Senate. “These are issues that are prevalent on campus and it might be going up for a vote soon in the legislature,”

Students also hope to address other issues such as budget cuts and the Monetary Award Program grant funding, McCord said. 

“MAP grants helps students afford to come to the University,” McCord said. “We always make sure to share with our legislatures the importance of MAP grants in how they help students attend the University of Illinois, and, if they were to be cut, how that would affect students who are currently participating in the program.”

Baldwin said the day at the capitol allows University students to connect with legislators who make the policies that directly affect them. 

“I think it’s a good opportunity for students to reach out to their leaders on the state level.” Baldwin said. “The leaders on campus now have this opportunity to connect with leaders from the legislature and to talk to them about the issues that are affecting them as students. It’s a very effective way to get voices heard, getting concerns out there and making real action happen. That’s why we do this.”

Buses will depart at 8:15 a.m. from The Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., and will depart from Springfield, Ill. at 4 p.m., following the event.