EC students push Rauner to sign budget

Photo by Stefan Carlson - College students across Illinois rally for Governor Bruce Rauner to pass the budget funding for MAP Grants. For the past month members of the Elmhurst College student body and administration rallied against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of SB 2043, launching the campaign #MAPMatters to involve the college.

SB 2043 is a bill that would allocate funding for Monetary Award Program (MAP grants) at approximately $397 million.

After the governor vowed to veto SB 2043 on Feb. 19, Elmhurst College launched a campaign, #MAPMatters, to involve EC students in encouraging the governor to sign the bill. The campaign encouraged students to tweet, call, and email the governor and urge him to sign the approximately  $397 million MAP grant funding bill.

The campaign lasted for a week, with each weekday allocating a certain activity.

For instance, Feb. 10 was  “Website Wednesday” where students were encouraged to stop by the Prospect room in the Frick Center to write to Governor Rauner in support of  the MAP grant bill.

Students who could document that they completed 3 out of 4 activities for the week, were awarded prizes.

Caitlin Csesznegi, an Elmhurst College freshman who participated in the event from  the Student Government Association spoke on her own personal value to mail her representative.

“I emailed the governor as well as made a Facebook post trying to get the word out,” Csesznegi said in an email. “My representative in the general assembly is a Republican who has voted against the bill multiple times. I have taken it upon myself to call his office and demand his vote toward furthering the education of students like me.”

Although Csesznegi is not a recipient of MAP grants, she became involved in MAP week.

“MAP allows many of my friends to continue their education,” she said. “I also love going to college at Elmhurst and being a BlueJay. I could not imagine not graduating from Elmhurst, but that is the reality for many of the students who currently receive the MAP grant.”

EC also sent students to the MAP grant rally in Chicago on Feb. 16 to protest the governor’s vow to veto SB 2043. Although only three Elmhurst College students participated in the rally, overall turnout was high with more than 100 students attending from several Chicago-area colleges.

Elmhurst College’s Student Government Association Vice President of Marketing, Pat Ackerman, spoke at the rally. He discussed the consequences for schools like Elmhurst College if the bill is not signed.

“Elmhurst College is a place that has provided us with so many different opportunities, so many ways for us to get involved. And without the MAP grant funding, we lose those opportunities.”

Ackerman, who is a senior at EC and a MAP grant recipient, said that he attended the rally for his fellow peers.

“I came to the rally to represent the 25 percent of Elmhurst College students who receive MAP grants,” Ackerman said.

Other students at the rally relayed their concerns about not being able to graduate as a result of a lack of MAP grant funding. One of these students is a first generation college student, Kathy Rodriguez, a senior at Saint Xavier University.

“I have been a recipient of the MAP grants for the past three years at Saint Xavier and I need it to graduate,” Rodriguez told WGN-TV.

Also in attendance was former IL Governor Pat Quinn. He praised the students who came to support SB 2043.

“This is an exercise of democracy,” Quinn said.