SA to hold letter-writing campaign on impasse


Students and community members demonstrate Oct. 29 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Commons for an end to the Illinois budget impasse between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly. The Student Association will begin a letter-writing campaign Friday so students can send their grievances to lawmakers. 

By Maxwell Bisaillon

The Student Association will begin a letter-writing campaign Friday to encourage students to write to their representatives about MAP grant funding and the budget impasse.

SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke said the campaign was created to provide students with a way to contact their representatives and voice their concerns. The campaign is the latest in the SA’s efforts to inform students about how the budget impasse between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state legislature could affect Monetary Assistance Program grants, which have gone unpaid to NIU and other Illinois universities this semester. NIU has credited more than 5,000 students with MAP grants for the 2015-2016 academic year.

“These are not going to be your normal chain [letters] that you just have people sign,” Domke said. “We will have each student take three to five minutes to write a personal letter to their representatives.”

The SA will set up tables to provide information and statistics as well as allow students to write letters in the Martin Luther King Jr. Commons, DuSable Hall, the bus turnaround outside the Holmes Student Center and the Founders Memorial Library. The SA will handle the postage and mailing of the letters, Domke said.

Freshman accounting major Abby Howlett said she will participate in the letter-writing campaign if the tables happen to be on her daily campus routine, while sophomore marketing major Olando Watt said he will not be participating in the letter-writing campaign regardless of the location or convenience. Watt, a MAP grant recipient, said he doesn’t feel the need to push for the budget to be passed, but declined to elaborate as to why.

The SA is in the midst of creating a Facebook page to connect all students affected by the crisis across Illinois, Domke said. The Facebook page’s name or when it will go live is not yet known, Domke said.

The SA is also encouraging students to register to vote, and plans to hold voter registration drives in the spring semester. Students who don’t want to wait until the spring can still contact the SA for assistance in voter registration, Domke said.

“Registering to vote is a very simple process now with the onset of applying online,” Domke said.