Students gather, write letters to legislators in Concord
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 02:03
A two-day, letter-writing event encouraged students to write to their legislators regarding school funding. Called Dear Concord, the event was hosted by UNH Works on Tuesday, Feb. 26, from 1 to 2 p.m. in the MUB Granite State Room and on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. in the MUB Strafford Room.
The purpose of the event was to encourage students to handwrite a letter, individualized by the student, to their legislator. Students were asked to tell the legislator about themselves, why they feel funding should be restored to UNH and how the funding affects them.
Carter Bascom, external affairs council chair for the UNH Undergraduate Student Senate, said the goal of the event was to get 50 letters written over the two-day period. Thirty letters were written on Tuesday.
“For an hour, the turnout was exceptional,” Bascom said. “I’d like to see more.”
On Wednesday, an additional 25 letters were written. Bascom said members of the Student Senate were pleased with the overall turnout.
The focus of the event was on in-state undergraduate students. All students, whether in-state or out-of-state, undergraduate or graduate, as well as community members were welcome to attend. Bascom said that the senate was not telling anyone what to write or that restoring funding is right. They are just providing the opportunity for people to write to representatives on the matter.
UNH Works supplied the paper, envelopes and stamps for the letters, along with a guide sheet for students on topics they could write about in their letters. UNH Works also looked up the state representatives for each student so they knew who to write to. The funding for the event came from the UNH Works Advisory Council.
UNH Works operates in support of UNH and is trying to convince the state to restore school funding. The members are comprised of alumni, current students, parents, faculty and staff, and voters.
Freshman Edward Wang, an international student, came to the event and wrote to House Finance Committee Representative Susan Ford about tuition. He wrote about how he likes UNH and said he hopes they can get funding back.
Senior Ben Cayes came to the event to get his voice heard and wrote to Representatives James Gray and Rose Marie Rogers. He wrote about how important it is to return funding to UNH and how it affects him and everyone else who needs assistance.
Sophomore James Cheney, a member of the Student Senate, went to the event because he said he feels strongly about the issue and feels it is embarrassing that the state won’t make an investment for our society and future. He wrote to Representative Peter Bixby about how much time he has to spend working to afford to come here because he was denied financial aid.
Senior Glenn Reiss, also a member of the Student Senate, came to the event to do what he can to get money back to UNH, not just for him but also for future generations. He wrote to Representative Jonathan Manley, Sr., about how freezing in-state tuition will cost out-of-state residents more money, which hurts out-of-state students.
A $100 gift certificate to the UNH Computer Store and two $25 gift certificates for Dunkin’ Donuts were raffled off during the event. Bascom said the prizes were an incentive for the time taken to write the letters, and were not the focus of the event.
Bascom said that UNH Works encourages everyone reading to look up their state representatives and call them, send them an email or write them a letter telling them what you believe regarding UNH funding.