In the early hours of Tuesday, April 5, a large group of Penn State Abington students -- dressed in their business best -- boarded a bus headed to Harrisburg. Joining hundreds of other Penn Staters from across the state, the students rallied together in the capitol rotunda to let their voices be heard in regards to Governor Corbett’s proposed drastic cuts in higher education state allocations.
And heard they were. With the Nittany Lion and members of the Blue Band leading the way with Penn State fight songs, several student government officers gave moving speeches from the steps of the rotunda to the standing room only crowd. The college students also met face-to-face with their local state legislators in order to relay their heartfelt pleas against the drastic budget cuts for higher education.
According to Brian Martinowich, an eighth semester English major and Penn State Abington’s student government president, the day was long but the trip was well worth it.
“I was extremely pleased with Abington's involvement in Capital Day; we had the highest attendance in Abington history (in this annual event), which is a huge accomplishment. Overall, I believe the students’ voice and concerns were clear,” said Martinowich. “We are in need of an affordable education. Students are struggling already -- in terms of the rises in tuition -- and are offsetting these costs through working multiple jobs and financial aid. We understand that the times are tough and the budget (deficit) is tough to solve, however you cannot ignore what Penn State and the other state related universities contribute to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
Travis Parrott, an international studies major in his fourth semester, was also in Harrisburg for Capital Day and agreed with Martinowich.
“This was the second Capital Day I have participated in, and while the previous event was in many regards a powerful experience, this latest lobbying effort was at a whole new level. The sheer determination the students, alumni and friends of Penn State exuded in response to the proposed budget cuts took on a character all its own throughout the day.”
“In the end though, no matter how successfully we lobbied that day, or how many times ‘We Are ... Penn State’ echoed throughout the halls,” continued Parrott, “we cannot rest until our future and the future of education in Pennsylvania has been secured.”