On Wednesday, November 3, members of Stony Brook University’s (SBU) Advocacy Corps met virtually with Anneliese Marcojohn, Deputy Long Island Regional Director to U.S. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and a proud Stony Brook alumna. The meeting started with the SBU Advocacy Corps urging Senator Schumer to continue to push for the swift passage of the Build Back Better Act.
“The Build Back Better Act is the most important opportunity Congress has had in many years to invest in America’s research enterprise, which has made us the world’s leader in innovation, scientific advancement, and global competitiveness for decades. But we can’t maintain our position without key investments for the future now,” said Erin Byers, an undergraduate double majoring in political science and psychology who also serves as treasurer of the Political Science Society. “We also need to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill over the finish line in order to secure tens of billions of dollars for groundbreaking technology demonstration projects and research infrastructure over a multiyear period.”
In addition to advocating for the Build Back Better Act, SBU Advocacy Corps members conveyed the urgency for Congress to pass FY22 appropriations and avoid another continuing resolution (CR). “A continuing resolution may be temporary, but the effects of stopgap funding on the research enterprise will be long-lasting. Think of a train, if there is an obstacle in its path it must slow down or even stop, when the obstacle is cleared it will take significantly more time and energy to get that train back up to speed, this is just like research when the lack of funding becomes an obstacle. This short-term measure also causes significant and unnecessary uncertainty for students and researchers,” said Harrison Feig, an undergraduate studying business and psychology who serves as an Undergraduate Student Government Senator. “We are very grateful that Senator Schumer secured tens of millions of dollars in research funding for key Stony Brook University priorities in FY22 appropriations. However, we fear that all of that hard work will unfortunately be in vain if a full-year CR is passed, and we are stuck with the FY21 funding levels.”
During the meeting, Marcojohn discussed the students’ requests and also shared her experience working for the US Senate Majority Leader. “As a Stony Brook University alumna working for the Senate Majority Leader, it’s awesome to see my fellow Seawolves advocating for key federal funding for higher education and research,” said Marcojohn. “I’m encouraged by the creation of the Stony Brook Advocacy Corps and hope that more students take advantage of this program to hone their advocacy and communication skills, which will serve them well regardless of what career path they choose to pursue.”
Stony Brook’s Office of Federal Relations continues to work with Advocacy Corps members, university partners from across the nation, and the New York Congressional Delegation to fight for increased federal funding for scientific research, student financial aid, and other SBU priorities.