AU students visit Indiana State House

Fri, 2009-02-20 08:29 -- univcomm
February 20, 2009

The economy is hitting college students hard, too—financial aid programs under increased and intense demand, part-time jobs harder to come by, and family financial contributions drained by unemployment and dwindling value of assets such as homes. That’s why Anderson University students will join with some 250 students representing 20 of Indiana’s independent colleges and universities on Tuesday, February 24, at 12:30 p.m., to make personal calls on their hometown legislators.

The students have three messages that they want to deliver: Sincere thanks for the legislators’ ongoing commitment to SSACI funding (need-based aid from the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana); the urgent need for their continued support of this program; and the critical importance of increasing the number of Hoosiers with bachelor’s degrees to Indiana’s economic recovery. The students will be wearing bright blue scarves bearing the message “Fund Students First,” as well as name tags identifying themselves, their hometowns, and their campuses.

"It is vital for Anderson University students to make their voices heard in the Indiana legislature as the state confronts a challenging budget year," said Dr. Joel Shrock, associate professor of History at Anderson University.

AU students involved in the experience include Christin Dawson (Management), Josh Canfield (History), Greg Murra (History), Jesse Luke (Marketing), Lindsey Emmick (Mass Communication), and Kelly Kaiser (Management).

This gathering of students from the independent campuses is being coordinated by Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and will begin at the Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio Street beginning at 11:00 a.m. Before marching to the State House at noon, the students will be briefed by ICI President Hans Giesecke and Vice President Anthony Maidenberg on current legislative issues involving state-funded need-based student aid.

In the Indiana History Center’s auditorium, several legislators are expected to address the entire group before students go to the State House to meet with their hometown legislators on an individual basis. “We’re so pleased that the students are going to have the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with their hometown legislators at the State House “says Giesecke. “Our students are going to experience the thrill of serving as advocates for their student financial aid.”

“By having members of each of Indiana’s two major political parties address the students,” adds Maidenberg, himself a former state senator, “it demonstrates to the students that higher education funding is truly a nonpartisan issue and that politics can be set aside when it comes to meeting the needs of Hoosier students.”

“Our goal is not only to raise awareness to the legislature of the importance of state financial aid---to put students’ names and faces on the state funds they appropriate—but also to introduce our students to how the legislative process works, how it affects their lives and futures, and how they can play a role in shaping its direction,” concludes Giesecke.

Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) is a nonprofit corporation that represents the state’s 31 nonprofit, accredited, undergraduate degree-granting institutions of higher education. ICI member institutions enroll more than 83,000 students (approximately 23 percent of all students statewide) and annually produce 34 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at www.icindiana.org.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,750 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.