Widener Students Take on Harrisburg Seeking Debt Reduction

As part of Student Lobby Day, Widener University students met with nine state senators and four representatives to discuss PA Senate Bill 420 "The Middle Income Student Debt Reduction Act." The Association for Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) in Harrisburg, PA organized the April meetings.

Students in the social work and political science majors, among others, represented Widener while meeting with their state legislators. Students presented legislators with their own research on the cost of higher education, as part of a SuperPAC that they created last fall in one of Dr. Wes Leckrone's political science classes.

The trip, which was co-sponsored by the Office of Civic Engagement, Center for Social Work Education, Political Engagement Committee, and Student Government Association, was a great way to educate students on how to work with government to enact real change. 

"Programs like this show that we really are creating democratic citizens who have the ability to structure change,"Elizabeth Housholder, assistant dean of civic engagement, said. "The students have become more interested in getting involved in public service and making a change."

Andrea Stickley, a sophomore political science major, who was involved in some of the planning efforts, was excited to see her classes' efforts come to fruition. "We put all of our classroom knowledge to use and we were able to present our SuperPAC to legislators," she said. "They thought it was great that we had created one and were being proactive."

Periclean Faculty LeaderDr. Marina Barnett's Social Work Policy 342 class participated in the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Social Workers' Annual Student Legislative Advocacy Day. In the fall the students focus on the history of policy, analyzing theories and backgrounds, and during the spring semester they study contemporary advocacy and prepare to lobby on a particular issue during the Legislative Advocacy Day.
 

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