On Wednesday, July 21, members of Stony Brook University’s (SBU) Advocacy Corps met virtually with Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. The meeting started with a robust discussion regarding SBU’s and SUNY Farmingdale’s new Fundamentals of Offshore Wind training program.
“It’s great to know that we have strong champions of offshore wind in our Long Island Congressional Delegation like Congresswoman Rice,” said Anne Green, an undergraduate studying environmental design, policy and planning. “Growing America’s offshore wind industry is critical to increasing our use of clean energy and modernizing our nation’s infrastructure.”
Critical infrastructure for higher education and hospitals was also a key topic during the meeting.
“While President Biden’s American Jobs Plan included funding for community college infrastructure, the current bipartisan deal does not include funding for higher education infrastructure,” said Marcia-Ruth Ndege, acting Co-Chair for the Interim Coordinating Committee that is working to establish the first SUNY-wide Black Student Union (SBSU) and a 2021 SBU graduate with a degree in biology. “Our federal government has a proud history of supporting public higher education infrastructure and now is the time to continue strong investment in public higher education.” With regard to public hospitals, SBU Advocacy Corps members thanked Congresswoman Rice for recently leading a letter that was sent to House and Senate leadership, urging them to include robust funding for hospitals and health systems as part of the developing infrastructure package.
Finally, Congresswoman Rice wrapped up the meeting by discussing the timely need for bipartisan negotiations in both the House and Senate. “I was encouraged to hear the Congresswoman speak so passionately about the need for bipartisanship,” said Husbaan Sheikh, an undergraduate coordinator at the Center for Civic Justice double majoring in political science and sociology. “In order for Congress to pass meaningful legislation this year, we need democrats and republicans compromising and working together.”
Launched in 2021 by SBU’s Office of Government Relations, the Stony Brook Advocacy Corps develops students into effective policy advocates who participate in policy briefings related to federal financial aid, scientific research, diversity and inclusion, immigration reform, and other higher education priorities provided by SBU’s Office of Federal Relations based in Washington, D.C. Subsequently, SBU Advocacy Corps members meet with Congressional members and staff virtually to advocate for SBU priorities.
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.