Penn State

On Centre | Penn State: Students take steps to lobby state for funding

Sometimes you just have to stand up for what’s important to you. And sometimes, you have to take that just one step further.

Penn State students will be taking a lot of steps over three days, to make sure that the university gets the funding it needs.

At noon on Sunday, the University Park Undergraduate Association will see its second Steps for State event kick off.

Walkers will head from Old Main toward Harrisburg. They are set to arrive at the Capitol at 8 a.m. Tuesday, where they will be joined by others for the Penn State Alumni Association Grassroots Network’s Capitol Day, when groups of students and alumni will meet with state representatives, senators and staff members to help advocate for the university’s appropriation from the commonwealth coffers.

It is the second time that the students have put one foot in front of the other to demonstrate how much the state money means to them.

“Increased state appropriations is something the UPUA cares deeply about,” said organizer John Lombardo. “Steps for State is a tangible way to make our voice heard to state legislators and the Penn State community.”

This year may be more important than ever to make the message clear.

President Eric Barron was in Harrisburg on Tuesday, when he told the Senate Appropriations Committee that he would recommend holding the line on tuition costs at all of the university’s campuses. That commitment came after Gov. Tom Wolf put forth a budget proposal that would increase Penn State’s allotment by more than $49 million. That is considerably more than Barron originally requested, after years of both Democratic and Republican governors trimming the university’s request.

But Wolf’s proposal is still just a proposal until a final budget is hammered out between the governor and the General Assembly. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman has been vocal about his position, that nothing can happen until a solution to the critical issue of Pennsylvania pension reform has been found.

And so, while Wolf has his priorities and lawmakers have theirs, the students are prepared to put on their walking shoes and make the 114-mile trek, one step at a time, to show that money for Penn State is not a tennis ball to be lobbed back and forth.