It’s final exam time in the world of state government. A new budget is due April 1st. In the days and weeks leading up to the deadline representatives of OCC went door-to-door, asking lawmakers for their continued support of the College.
OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill and Government Relations coordinator Susan Tormey led the last minute push. They were joined by students Hassina Adams, Maurice Brown, Heather Flewelling and Chloe Hoffman who are members of the Politics Club.
During their own version of “March Madness” OCC representatives visited the offices of State Senators John DeFrancisco (R, C, IP – 50th) and David Valesky (D, IP – 53rd) along with Assembly members Pamela J. Hunter (D – 128th), William B. Magnarelli (D – 129th) and Al Stirpe (D – 127th).
“It’s interesting when you meet with politicians because they have the power of the purse,” said Brown. “We advocated for the school, talked about what the college has and what the college needs. It was interesting to see the dynamic.”
Flewelling enjoyed the chance to lobby on OCC’s behalf. “It was an incredible opportunity to see the support our school gets from Assemblywoman Pam Hunter and to share how Onondaga Community College has inspired me. This experience showed me how important it is in today’s world to advocate for others and for ourselves.”
“This was an experience I was grateful to be a part of,” said Hoffman, a 2015 graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High School. “I tried to provide legislators with a real student’s experience. I let them know the opportunities OCC has presented me with. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without coming to OCC and I really wanted the local representatives to understand that.”
Adams also appreciated the opportunity to get involved. “Meeting Assemblywoman Pam Hunter was an amazing experience because I got the opportunity to talk about my experiences on campus while addressing some of the challenges that most students encounter. I got to see how much of an impact student voices can make and that the more engaged we are on matters that affect our education, the more change we can enact as a student body.”
It’s budget season in New York State! Every year around this time lawmakers hear from constituents who are looking for increased support in the upcoming year.
At OCC it’s the perfect opportunity for President Casey Crabill and members of the College’s Politics Club to deliver their message about all of the great work being done on campus and vision for the future. Crabill along with students Maurice Brown and Kristen Bella just completed meetings with State representatives Senator John DeFrancisco (R, 50th District), Assemblywoman Pam Hunter (D, 128th District), Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D, 129th District), Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D, 127th District) and Senator Dave Valesky (D, 53rd District).
“It was a good experience,” said Brown, a sophomore from Brooklyn. “We advocated for more funding. I got to learn first-hand how politicians think and what their concerns were.”
“The experience taught me that local and state governments are just as fundamental as the federal government,” said Bella, a freshman from Finger Lakes Christian High School in Seneca Falls. “I’m confident my voice as well as OCC’s voice was heard and our representatives truly care about our students and their futures.”
Another session with a lawmaker will be happening March 10 when students meet with Assemblyman Gary Finch (R, 126th District) on the OCC campus.
The advocacy visits are coordinated by Susan Tormey, the College’s Associate Vice President for Advancement Communications.
Student members of OCC’s Politics Club participated in the political process when they joined College President Dr. Casey Crabill and Associate Vice President of Government Relations Susan Tormey on a tour of local State Senate and Assembly representatives.
The contingent presented OCC’s 2015 Legislative Priorities to lawmakers at the offices of Senator John DeFrancisco (R, 50th District), Senator Dave Valesky (D, 53rd District), Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D, 129th District) and Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D, 127th District).
Politics Club members Amanda Guereschi, Jonathan Rowe and Daniel Quackenbush used the opportunity to tell each lawmaker about their experiences at OCC. They were selected to participate by Political Science Professor Chris Thuot, Ph.D.
Guereschi is a graduate of Chittenango High School and a Humanities major with minors in Honors and Women’s Studies. “It was a great experience to see democracy in action and a wonderful opportunity to show support for a college that means so much to me. It was also great to see and hear our representatives express their interest in OCC student’s success,” said Guereschi.
Rowe came to OCC from Horseheads High School and is an Electronic Media Communications major. “It was an honor to speak with each Senator and Assemblyman. The conversations were very positive,” said Rowe.
During the day of advocating OCC representatives also visited the office of Judge Martha Mulroy. She’s the daughter of John Mulroy, Onondaga County’s first County Executive and a man credited with being OCC’s founding father. “Judge Mulroy gave us great advice on the political process and how to run for office,” said Quackenbush. “Visiting her and all of the legislators was a very inspirational experience.”
When you support Onondaga Community College, you are making a statement that you believe in the importance of quality affordable education for everyone. You are creating new opportunities and new beginnings for students and our greater community.