Illinois Connection, Student Alumni Ambassadors host letter-writing campaign at Illini Union

The annual letter-writing activities take place at each of our three campuses to encourage students to write their respective representatives on higher education issues.

by Josh Winters

As freshman Jason Selling walked into the Illini Union Wednesday afternoon, he was hardly thinking about writing a letter to his federal representative, but seconds after walking through the doors, that’s exactly what he found himself doing.

Whether it was the temptation of free cookies or the enthusiasm of the Student Alumni Ambassadors, SAA, who were volunteering for a letter-writing campaign, Selling couldn’t help but participate.

The SAA and Illinois Connection, the University’s grassroots advocacy organization, hold a letter-writing campaign each semester. Their goal: to motivate University students to write a letter to their federal representative in support of higher education

“I think legislators want to hear from the kids that they’re supporting with their money,” said Maverick Woodside, SAA vice president of student engagement. “If they hear from faculty, it’s going to be less impactful than hearing from students, the people that the money is directly affecting.”

SAA and Illinois Connection’s fall letter-writing campaign coordinates between all three of the University’s campuses and works to encourage students to write to their respective federal representative on higher education issues.

“We are writing to (federal) legislators, state representatives and senators in Washington DC to support higher education things like Pell Grants, research funding,” Woodside said.

The groups hold a similar campaign during the spring semester, but their letters are sent to state representatives. SAA and Illinois Connection also hold their annual “Lobby Day” in the spring, organizing a multi-campus trip to Springfield so students can speak directly to legislators about higher education policy.

Roughly 200 students traveled to Springfield for last year’s Lobby Day, said Marissa McCord, assistant vice president of alumni advocacy for Illinois Connection.

“Students have a huge voice, one that sometimes they forget to use,” McCord said.

Read more at the Daily Illini.

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