UIC Student Advocacy Coalition finds success with virtual meetings with legislators

Members of the UIC Student Advocacy Coalition (SAC) found success advocating for the university during the past year through virtual meetings with legislators, despite the pandemic.

With virtual visits, students were able to have more personalized one-on-one meetings with legislators to discuss the racial and economic gaps in higher education, said Taylor Holmes, a recent UIC graduate and 2020-21 president SAC, a registered student organization that advocates for policies that advance the best interest of UIC students and the university while also promoting civic and voter engagement.

“These independent meetings allow more time for students to meet legislators, instead of having to chase them down the halls and hear us out about our stories, especially during the pandemic,” Holmes said.

Advocacy meetings are core to the mission of the student group. Members are invited to participate in yearly in-district meetings, thank-you meetings and days at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and Springfield. With an executive board that includes four women of color, the coalition was in tune with social-political issues of the year, Holmes said.

“Students got on the call to share stories, ask questions — it was more student-focused this year,” Holmes said. “Zoom made it an experience just for students.”

During the past year, students advocated for increased funding for Pell and MAP grants, COVID-19 relief aid for students and the university, and operational funding. SAC members are trained on how to engage with legislators on behalf of the university and practice advocating for university issues.

“Virtual meetings were really successful,” Holmes added. “Students were able to voice and engage with legislators better and more students were able to attend the events, which resulted in more attention and funding for UIC.”

All UIC students are welcome to join SAC and join the conversation in creating change for their community.

Visit the group’s Facebook page to join and learn more. Stay updated with advocacy meetings on Instagram and Twitter.

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