Civic engagement: Redbirds strong advocates for higher education
Thanks to dedicated students and alumni, citizens of the state continue to hear about the need to support higher education in Illinois.
A group of student leaders visited Springfield for a student advocacy day during the spring. They prepared by meeting with alumni, who provided training on how to present with one voice. Participants generated questions and learned lobbying practices.
Michele (Pfeilschifter) Guadalupe ’01, advocacy alliance development director for the Arthritis Foundation and ISU Alumni Association Board of Directors’ member, shared her expertise. She is confident students will impact government relations.
“I give my time to students because I feel that advocacy is of critical importance to them, as well as something they will encounter in most professions,” she said. “I have been extremely impressed with the students I’ve encountered at Illinois State. They have been able to eloquently share their story with legislators, and I know that it’s making a difference.”
Students met with seven legislators to discuss MAP grant funding, increased appropriations for ISU, and the need to increase in-state student college attendance. Illinois has one of the highest percentages in the nation of high school students who leave the state for college.
Several alumni joined students to discuss the same topics. Graduates also attended a higher education reception in Springfield, where they met with legislators. They lobbied for higher education funding at ISU and across the state.
“Alumni play a key advocacy role for Illinois State, especially since so many of us live and work in the state,” Guadalupe said. “We are constituents for a vast number of legislators, which allows us to effectively strengthen the University’s messages on the importance of higher education.”
Alumni interested in joining advocacy efforts for Illinois State can contact Alumni Director Stephanie Duquenne at saduque@IllinoisState.edu.