On Wednesday, Mar. 13, students, faculty members, and alumni are invited to gather at the State Capitol to advocate for the Minnesota State Grant Program.
The Minnesota State Grant Program provides an opportunity for students to attend college.
“I love Gustavus Day at the Capitol because it provides students the opportunity to lobby for their education,” Senior Megan Nelson said.
Student Senate works with various groups on campus to put together the event. Among these groups are the political science department, the President’s office, the financial aid office, and theoffice of marketing and communications. The Day at the Capitol is also run in conjunction with the Minnesota Private College Council, an organization representing 17 of Minnesota’s private liberal arts colleges and universities.
“In the morning, students will have individual meetings with officials from their districts, and in those meetings you talk with your legislators about the importance of the state grant programs,” Senior Political Science Major and Student Senate Co-President Jessica Flannery said.
In addition to active engagement with state legislators and officials, students will have a chance to tour the Capitol and visit St. Paul.
“The trip appeals to people interested in politics and in civic life. I really enjoyed it. Advocating for students was really powerful,” Junior Student Representative for the Planning Committee for Day at the Capitol Darcy Coulter said.
During the Gusties in Government Panel, students will have the chance to talk with alumni who work at the Capitol about what they have done after graduation and about their experience in politics. Speaking with key lawmakers about the State Grant Program will help students understand the vital components of their financial aid and college careers.
“Students should go to Day at the Capitol this year because in the last 25 years, the price of tuition has raised times times as much as the rate of inflation, yet financial aid has not adjusted to the rising cost of higher tuition in fact, financial aid is often part of budget cuts. Governor Dayton’s proposed budget would add an additional $80 million dollars to this program, providing grants to thousands more students and increase the average award size. It is important that this proposal passes to provide the opportunity for higher education for more students,” Nelson said.
Roughly a quarter of Gustavus students receive the grant. Students who do not receive the Minnesota State Grant can still benefit from it as the money that goes towards a recipient’s tuition frees up other sources of money that the school can give out to students as financial aid.
In addition to students being able to experience a day at the Capitol, students have the opportunity to engage and network with their state government officials.
“My favorite part was definitely being able to network with people. After the Gustie Alumni panel, I met Meagan Bachmayer, Director of Marketing and Development of Womenwinning, a Minnesota Women’s Campaign Fund. Through her, I got an internship for the summer,” Coulter said.
“Gusties should go because it is a great opportunity to be part of the policy making process and to talk one-on-one with their state legislators. If you have any inkling of a career in politics and government, I highly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity,” Nelson said.
The day will be free of charge, including meals and transportation.
To sign up or for more information, visit https://gustavus.edu/events/capitol/.