Seawolves on the Hill

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Four Stony Brook University students — Jean-Doris Muhuza, Patrick Smith, Kayla Gogarty and Lyl Tomlinson — were on Capitol Hill at the end of March as part of “SUNY Students on the Hill Day,” advocating for increased federal support for public higher education so SUNY and Stony Brook can continue to deliver high-quality, affordable opportunities to New Yorkers.

Seawolves in front of the Capitol (left to right) Jean-Doris Muhuza, Patrick Smith, Kayla Gogarty and Lyl Tomlinson

Seawolves in front of the Capitol (left to right): Jean-Doris Muhuza, Patrick Smith, Kayla Gogarty and Lyl Tomlinson

Students advocated for:

  • Increasing the total maximum Pell Grant award to $5,920
  • Reducing student loan interest rates and allowing students with high-interest loans to refinance at current lower rates
  • Advocating for a humanitarian approach to immigration reform
  • Reinstating the year-round Pell Grant program
  • Supporting campus-based aid programs: Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant and Federal Work Study

“The training that we received from the SUNY Students on the Hill program helped us gain an appreciation for how to communicate with representatives and made our meetings with Congressman Zeldin and Congressman King’s office more productive,” said Tomlinson.

Students networked with DC-based SUNY alumni, heard directly from members of Congress, learned how to advocate on Capitol Hill, and met with Congressional offices to speak about the importance of increased access to key student financial aid programs.

“Being a part of Students on the Hill exposed me to a perspective of government that I believe every student should witness,” said Muhuza. “Meeting with Congressman King’s office encouraged me to continue advocating for fellow students and citizens by voicing our concerns with members of Congress and emphasizing the value of higher education in public school systems such as SUNY.”

The trip to Washington, DC, was coordinated by SUNY’s Office of Federal Relations and the SUNY Student Assembly.

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