On February 27, four students in the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Civic Leadership Program travelled to the State Capitol in Albany to discuss with legislators, the impact of CUNY and BMCC budget cuts.
The students—Allen Kruzhkov, Radha Longo, Eleni Spiru and Fadel Yerima—were accompanied by Douglas Israel, BMCC Director of Government and Community Relations, and Melissa Aponte, BMCC Assistant Director of Student Activities.
They met with Charles LeDuc, Legislative Director for New York State Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, as well as staff in the office of Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou.
"The purpose of the visits with legislators was to advocate for funding for CUNY and BMCC,” said Israel. "Specifically, we wanted to help increase the base level of aid that the state provides for CUNY community colleges, and to restore cuts proposed by the Governor for ASAP, C-STEP and other vital programs.”
The students shared their college and career goals with the legislators, and spoke about the impact BMCC programs have made on their academic success.
"As a science major, I have a significant passion for research," says Radha Longo. "Letting our representatives know how important the CSTEP program is to us, is the best way to ensure they’ll consider it as a top investment priority."
Fadel Yeriman is also a Science major at BMCC, and spoke in support of community college research funding. "CSTEP, for example, gives me a taste of my future career, because I get to work closely with professors in the laboratory," he said. "I also learn how important team work is, in the research field. Cuts in that program and others like it, will reduce the number of students they serve, and eventually it will reduce the number of qualified scientists in New York State."
“When legislators meet with college students, they hear first-hand about our struggles, needs, successes, and the way that budget cuts to public education affect our lives,” said Liberal Arts major Eleni Spiru. “Meeting with us might make them think twice before they vote for a decrease in the CUNY budget, because they realize they are dealing with human beings and not just numbers.”
Later in the semester, students in the Civic Leadership Program will tour City Hall and the United Nations.
Students interested in joining the Civic Leadership Program may contact Melissa Aponte, firstname.lastname@example.org.