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UMD Student Legislative Coalition Leads Bulldog Day at State Capitol

Senator Amy Klobuchar with SLC members  
Members of the Student Legislative Coalition with Senator Amy Klobuchar: (front row, from left): Peter Engler, Zack Filipovich, Jason Reid, Nahom Abegaze, Alex Hagstrom, (back row, from left): Scott Kulzer, Kelly Kemper, Fiona O'Halloran-Johnson, Sen. Klobuchar, Rebecca Covington, Grace Larsen, Jordan Cook, Steven Hendrickson.

Capitol Bulldogs On Wednesday, March 28, members of the UMD Student Legislative Coalition (SLC) and other interested UMD students will hold their first “Bulldog Day” at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. There, students will meet and talk with legislators. “We want to show our support for UMD and voice our concerns,” said SLC Financial Officer Zack Filipovich.

Those concerns include decreases in state funding for UMD, increases in tuition for students, and high debt when students graduate. Jason Reid, director of the SLC and an economics major, believes it’s important for legislators to listen one-on-one to students. “When legislators see students there and hear their stories, they know that students care about their educations,” Reid said.

The SLC will also be advocating for construction of an American Indian Learning Resource Center (AILRC) on the UMD campus. The AILRC, endorsed by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and included in the University of Minnesota’s bonding bill request, is before the 2012 Minnesota Legislature. “Currently, there are a lot of artifacts and a large portion of the American Indian library that are in storage. The AILRC will make all of this accessible to UMD students and the entire community.”

Reid encourages any interested students to take part in Bulldog Day. “A lot of students shy away from politics, but this isn’t about politics, it’s about making your voice heard and telling your story.” Reid also invites faculty and staff to attend. “Anyone is welcome,” he said. Seats are still available on the Bulldog Day bus. Those interested in participating should contact Reid or Filipovich for more information.

Filipovich, a senior majoring in accounting, is excited to take part in Bulldog Day event. “I enjoy talking to people who might not understand the student perspective.” His confidence has grown as his involvement in the SLC has increased. At the end of February, he participated in the Duluth/St. Louis County Day also at the State Capitol. “You come to realize that the legislators aren’t very different than you. You can just talk to them.”

About the Student Legislative Coalition
The SLC, which is part of the Student Activities Office, is a non-partisan group. They seek to inform students about legislative issues that may affect them throughout the year. They also look to gather student input to ensure that the SLC is focusing on areas of interest and concern to the UMD student body. The SLC also offers a Legislative Certificate Program to teach students the fundamentals of effective lobbying and a well-rounded understanding of the political process. For more information, visit the SLC facebook page.

About the American Indian Learning Resource Center
Currently American Indian programs are scattered throughout the UMD campus. The center would give these programs cohesion and prominence. Total construction cost for the center is about $11 million. Of this amount, the 2012 Minnesota Legislature is being asked to contribute $7.3 million. UMD would fund the remaining cost of the project, about $3.6 million. In December 2011, the building received a strong commitment from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Executive Committee. They voted unanimously to help raise $1.1 million for the project and to contribute political support. UMD is working in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Office of Government and Community Relations, located on the Twin Cities campus, to present the project to the state legislature.

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, March 2012

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