Students met with legislators and participated in advocacy processes in Harrisburg
Nine students joined members of Lafayette staff at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICUP) annual Day on the Hill held on April 25. The day-long event brought students from independent schools across the Commonwealth to the Capitol to learn more about advocating on behalf of their institutions. Throughout the day, students met with legislators and participated in advocacy processes in Harrisburg. The students met State Senator Lisa Boscola (D-18), State Representative Robert Freeman (D-136), State Representative Aaron Kaufer ’11 (R-120), State Representative Melissa Shusterman ’89 (D-157), State Representative Ann Flood (R-138), and Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary for Community Affairs and Development Rick Vilello. Student participants included Miles Asher Dorai Raj ’25, Eszter Hiscott ’26, Christopher Byrnes ’26, Ashley Monahan ’26, Kaitlin Ahern ’23, Dimitri Chernozhukov ’23, Jonathan Ellens ’23, Reni Mokrii ’25, and Andrea Rivera ’23. The event was made possible through collaboration with the Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government at Lafayette.
Here’s what several of the students had to say about the experience:
“I thought the experience was amazing. It was very cool to see the Capitol and learn about AICUP — the speeches during the press conference were very informative and compelling. All of the legislators that we met were super kind and it was cool to hear what they had to say about education, and I appreciated that they took the time to listen to what we had to say. Meeting Mr. Vilello from DCED was also very cool, and made me want to get more involved with state and local politics, which wasn’t a career path I hadn’t considered for myself before!” –Miles Asher Dorai-Raj ’25
“AICUP Day on the Hill was a wonderful experience. Not only was I able to see the architectural marvel of PA’s state capitol building but the day-to-day operations taking place within it. So many other interest groups were present, which goes to show just how many issues are at stake and how wonderful our democratic process is, in the sense that you and other like-minded people really do have the ability to make your voices heard. As a student of federalism, it was amazing to see the inner-workings of it. We place so much emphasis on the federal government that we forget how much impact state and local government has on people too!” –Chris Byrnes ’26