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Students Flock to the Statehouse
Independent College Day.
ONU's representatives were: Alexandra Lynn Habbouche, a sophomore in political science from Oregon, Ohio; Kelly Morman, a junior in political science from Monroeville, Ohio; Adam Schwiebert, a sophomore in political science from Hamler, Ohio; Michael Hamper, a junior in political science from Jefferson, Ohio; and Sheila Willamowski, a junior in political science from Lima, Ohio.
"We were able to talk to a number of state legislatures and senators and voice our opinions about higher education and the need for the state grants that they give us," said Habbouche.
"They are incredibly busy people, but they still found time to meet with us individually so that we could voice our concerns on the proposed legislation. It truly was state and local politics at its finest and overall an amazing experience because we saw first hand that we CAN make a difference with just one voice."
Willamowski added, "It was really nice that we, the students, were the ones in the meetings individually lobbying the legislators. This gave us an opportunity to speak to them one-on-one about the concerns we ‘real people' have with regard to the possible termination of the Ohio Choice Grant."
Schwiebert agrees, "Too often, people undervalue the effectiveness of directly talking with legislators. It is through personal communication with our elected officials that better public policy is formed."
The students and their advisors had an opportunity to meet with representatives and senators from their schools' districts as well as those from their hometown districts in Ohio. There were also opportunities to tour the Statehouse, hear an update on the current political atmosphere in Ohio and attend committee meetings.
The event was organized by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO), an association of 51 independent colleges in the state.