University needs support from student voices

I visited the Capitol last week with more than 150 other students from the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and Twin Cities campuses for Support the U Day. Together, we told lawmakers about the importance of investing in the University of Minnesota.

I want to thank Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka; Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona; and Rep. Gene Pelowski Jr., DFL-Winona, for speaking at our standing-room-only rally. Those three lawmakers and the 50 others we met with in small groups heard us loud and clear: The University needs $100 million to renovate and repair buildings across the five campuses.

Without these repairs, our current buildings won’t realize their useful lives. Despite this, a current legislative proposal would fund less than one-third of the University’s preservation and replacement needs. With tuition and student debt at sky-high rates, students can’t afford to foot this bill. While current proposals do a good job of funding much-needed new facilities and laboratories, the Legislature and Gov. Dayton need to do better on repairs and renovation.

Even though it’s called Support the U Day, fighting for the University’s capital investment request isn’t limited to one day. Support for the University and its students must be heard and seen on Facebook, on Twitter and through emails to our legislators.

Student voices carry influence at the Capitol, and I urge more University students to contact their lawmakers and encourage support for the University’s legislative request this session.