The All College Council will host a student e-mail Lobby Day in support of the Minnesota State Grant Program from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, near the Fireside Room, second floor, Murray-Herrick Campus Center.
The day’s purpose is to encourage Minnesota state grant recipients to contact their legislators through e-mail and request that they continue to fund the Minnesota State Grant Program. At St. Thomas, about 1,300 undergraduate students receive $4.7 million in state grants this year, with an average award of $3,630.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has recommended the Legislature provide additional funds for the need-based financial aid program, but concerns remain that lawmakers may reduce funding as part of an effort to erase the state’s projected $4.2 billion shortfall in the next two years.
"It would take students only three minutes to send legislators a quick note," said Matthew Lehman, ACC external and legislative affairs senator. "Just as we enjoy receiving thank-you notes, so do legislators. This is an easy and free way to convince lawmakers how important the State Grant Program is to us."
ACC representatives will have two computers with Internet access available for students to send their e-mail messages. Students will type their home address into the Action Center page of the Minnesota Private College Council Web site and can write personal e-mail notes to their legislators, telling them that they receive state grants and would like the Legislature to fund the program for next year.
The messages will be forwarded to Mike Wilhelmi, MPCC director of government and community affairs. Wilhelmi will deliver the letters to legislators to ensure they don’t get lost in the massive amount of e-mail that legislators receive.
The lobbying effort will come three weeks after the MPCC held its third annual Day at the Capitol on Feb. 25. Ten St. Thomas students and three staff members attended the event, where they met with senators and representatives to discuss the grant program.