Wednesday, February, 16, 2011

Temple students rally in Harrisburg for continued state support


Hundreds of students from Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh, Lincoln University and Penn State University, representing the newly formed Pennsylvania Association of State-Related Students (PASS), converged in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Feb. 15 to advocate for state funds and celebrate the contributions of state-related schools to the Commonwealth.

More than 100 Temple students boarded buses early Tuesday morning on Main Campus and traveled to Harrisburg, where they met with students from other state-related universities and Temple Harrisburg students in the Main Rotunda of the State Capitol building.

For more than two hours, students from each school shared stories of the struggles their families go through to afford higher education. They urged elected officials to continue to fund Pennsylvania’s state-related schools. The Commonwealth’s support provides nearly 20 percent of Temple’s operating funds each year.

“We came here to Harrisburg today with a clear message — we will not idly leave our education. We will not sit by as our education is cut,” said Temple senior Malcolm Kenyatta.

Temple Student Government took the lead in organizing the events for Temple and partnered with a number of student organizations, including Main Campus Program Board, the Temple Gospel Ministry and Temple College Democrats, to recruit students.

“We wanted to make sure that a great cross section of Temple was represented in Harrisburg and that elected officials had a chance to hear how much Pennsylvania’s support of higher education allows us to accomplish, and see how talented Temple students are,” said Natalie Ramos-Castillo, president of Temple Student Government, who shared stories of her own family’s struggles to pay for her education during the recession.

In addition to the student speakers, the rally included performances by a series of musicians, poets and rappers. Groups from each institution broke out into their respective school cheers and fight songs, and chanted the event’s central messages: “I believe that we need funds” and “Support our education - Love, the future of the nation.”

Many students felt that their messages reached members of the General Assembly, who, along with Gov. Tom Corbett, will craft this year’s budget. “A lot of people stopped and listened — a lot of legislators. Hopefully we got the message through,” noted sophomore Leslee Everett.

“Temple Student Government’s Rally for Higher Education is a great example of students taking responsibility for the future of their education and university and an opportunity for students to directly connect with leaders in Harrisburg,” said Kenneth Lawrence, Jr., senior vice president of government, community and public affairs. “As budget deliberations continue in the weeks and months to come, students — and the entire Temple community — will play an integral role in securing our appropriation from the Commonwealth.”

Lawrence encourages students, faculty and staff to visit Temple’s Government Affairs web site to continue to communicate the importance of Temple through the Temple Advocates Legislative Outreach Network (TALON), and to follow the Office of Government Relations on Twitter @TUGovtAffairs for regular updates on Temple’s commonwealth appropriation and additional opportunities to advocate for Temple.

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