Students unite in Springfield to advocate for higher education on behalf of University of Illinois System

More than 200 students from the University of Illinois System’s three universities (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield) will unite in Springfield on Wednesday, March 29 to meet with legislators for University of Illinois Student Day at the Capitol. Lunch and a briefing program will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Inn at 835 (835 S. 2nd St.). The students will take a group photo on the East Capitol steps at 1:15 p.m. Legislator meetings will follow.

Coordinated by Illinois Connection – the legislative advocacy network of the University of Illinois Alumni Association – and in partnership with the University’s Office of Governmental Relations, this annual event brings students together to deliver a unified message to lawmakers on behalf of the University System. Students will meet with their elected representatives to encourage funding support for the University of Illinois and higher education in general. University System President Timothy Killeen, Executive Vice President Barbara Wilson, Executive Director of Governmental Relations Lindsay Anderson and University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch will all be attending.

Illinois Connection manages student advocacy coalitions at each of the three universities that provide students with experiential learning opportunities to learn about governmental relations and grassroots advocacy. Additionally, students have the opportunity to meet legislators, alumni and other students who share similar interests.

“Students define the University of Illinois System’s value to the state, through the talents they nurture here that help drive progress and lift their communities,” said University System President Timothy Killeen. “I am deeply grateful to students for volunteering their time to share their stories and put a face on our key role in moving Illinois forward.”

“When hundreds of students unite in the Capitol to share personal stories about how higher education has impacted their lives, it really gets the attention of legislators,” said State Rep. and Higher Education Appropriations Committee Chair Kelly Burke. “I commend the students who are making the effort to advocate on behalf of the University of Illinois so that current and future students can continue to receive a world class education.”

“I got involved with Illinois Connection because I wanted to help the University continue to improve,” said Urbana junior Emily Tuttle. “I have watched professors leave and students lose their research opportunities due to the lack of funding. Student Day at the Capitol is our chance to share stories, remind legislators that our education isn’t part of a political game, and stand up for what is right for all students in Illinois.”

Illinois Connection is sponsoring this effort in partnership with the three student advocacy coalitions; Illinois Student Senate and Student Alumni Ambassadors (Urbana); Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate Student Council and University Ambassadors (Chicago); and the Student Government Association (Springfield).

For more information about the UI Alumni Association’s Illinois Connection advocacy program, visit

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The University of Illinois Alumni Association is an independent, not-for-profit organization that strives to enhance the Universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield by connecting, inspiring and celebrating more than 700,000 alumni.

The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 81,000 students, more than 24,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.

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Courtney Grussing