Katies urge lawmakers to support the Minnesota State Grant
On March 18, 56 students from St. Catherine University participated in Day at the Capitol, sponsored by the Minnesota Private College Council. Students from Gustavus Adolphus College and St. Olaf College were also in attendance.
The objective of the day is to advocate for the Minnesota State Grant program. The grant provides key support for one out of three students from low and middle-income families, making college within reach for those individuals who might not otherwise attend.
Students received policy and lobbying training, then met with House and Senate members who either represented their campus, or their hometown if they are Minnesota natives.
The experience was awe-inspiring for first-timer Pooja Shah ’14, who urges other students to attend future Day at the Capitol events.
"It’s so important that our voices are heard. This is a great way to do that because you get to share your personal stories with legislators who can make a difference – with lawmakers who want to hear from us, and who will ultimately make the decisions that affect our future and our careers," she says.
As an international student, Shah is not eligible to receive the Minnesota State Grant, but that doesn’t stop her from seeing the larger picture or from speaking out.
“Even though I don’t receive the state grant myself, it still affects me because of how funds are allocated overall — it’s like a domino effect. So the grant program is very important,” she explains.
As one of the co-chairs (with Sai Yang '17) of the Student Senate’s External Affairs committee, the event was also a great resume-builder for Shah.
“Organizing it from beginning to end, all the logistics, getting everyone there and back — it was a great learning experience,” she adds.
This was the first of five Day at the Capitol events in 2014, representing students from 16 Minnesota private colleges and universities.