Students encourage peers to help advocate on behalf of University

Students from the University of Illinois System’s three universities (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield) will unite in Springfield on Wednesday, March 29 to meet with legislators for University of Illinois Student Day at the Capitol.

Coordinated by Illinois Connection – the legislative advocacy network of the University of Illinois Alumni Association – in partnership with the University’s Office of Governmental Relations, this annual event brings students together to deliver a unified message to lawmakers on behalf of the University. Students will meet with their elected representatives to encourage funding support for the University of Illinois and higher education in general. University System President Tim Killeen will be joining in this effort to reach out to legislators.

Illinois Connection’s student advocacy programs at each of the three universities provide students with experiential learning opportunities to learn about government relations and grassroots advocacy. Additionally, students have the opportunity to meet legislators, alumni and other students who share similar interests.

“The unprecedented lack of state funding is quickly inflicting great damage not only to the prestigious reputation that has been built over the last 150 years but to students, alumni and the entire state,” said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student Ben Boris.  “I advocate through Illinois Connection so that current and future students can have the same opportunities and experiences that I have had as a University of Illinois student.”

“UIC is where I began to see my future open up to so many possibilities,” said University of Illinois at Chicago student Allyson Nolde. “As a former college dropout who spent six years out of school before going back, I never could have imagined I would be earning a college degree, let alone pursuing a Master’s degree immediately upon completion of my bachelor’s degree. UIC has given me confidence, identity, opportunity, and most importantly, a future.”

“Illinois Connection offers students unique opportunities to learn about state government and to have important discussions with legislators about higher education funding,” said UIS Student Government Association President Austin Mehmet. “Illinois Connection is a vital organization that gives students a method of sharing their stories with legislators and advocating for higher education funding.”

Illinois Connection is sponsoring this effort in partnership with the three student advocacy coalitions, Illinois Student Senate and Student Alumni Ambassadors (Urbana); Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate Student Council and University Ambassadors (Chicago); and the Student Government Association (Springfield).

For more information about the UI Alumni Association’s Illinois Connection advocacy program, visit Students can register for UI Student Day at the Capitol at before March 22. Transportation will be provided to the Capitol from the Urbana, Chicago and Springfield campuses.

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The University of Illinois Alumni Association is an independent, not-for-profit organization that strives to enhance the Universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield by connecting, inspiring and celebrating more than 700,000 alumni.

The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 81,000 students, more than 24,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.