Student Advocacy Day Trip to Harrisburg

by marketing intern William F. Rodebaugh III

On Tuesday April 9th, I, along with two sophomores Kedliany Ramirez-Rodriguez and Chelsea Phraner, got a chance to step away from classes at Manor for a day and experience a day in Harrisburg for Student Advocacy. We were selected because we were accepted into a financial aid program called PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency).  The two purposes of this trip was get legislators familiarized with Manor, and to tell the stories we had about how financial aid impacted us. The organization that sponsored this day was AICUP (Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania). This trip was headed by Vice President of Advancement Kimberly Hamm, and joining us on the trip was Vice President of Enrollment Stephanie Walker.

The exciting day began with a rally on the capitol steps. This rally was led by Tom Foley, the President of AICUP. All of the students would stand on the steps listening to the stories from three college students on how financial aid impacted their lives. It was so cool to hear those stories as we worked to expand it on our own campus. After the ceremony we would then go on to visiting the offices of the leaders.

The first person we spoke to was Attorney Benjamin V. Sanchez from District 153. I met him previously because he was the keynote speaker for the Founder’s Day 2019 event. Every time we met someone we would give our elevator pitch – this is a short introduction on who we are and why we think Manor is important to us.  I was the one to talk about our four year bachelor program; this was because I am continuing my education at Manor for Business. I also discussed what I enjoyed about Manor. I explained that the small size is what made me like it. We then made sure that a picture was taken with everyone we had an appointment with.

Next we would meet with a staff member of Christine M. Tartaglione the State Senator of Philadelphia county named Geoffrey Mock. Her office is actually located right around the corner from where I live. After meeting with Geoffrey Mock we took a break. During that break we got a chance to see the floor where the house members were working on passing a bill. We actually got to see that bill be passed, which was inspiring to witness. After the break we met with other colleges like Juniata to talk to State Senator of Montgomery County Art Haywood. The schools gave reasons and statistics as to why they are in need of more financial aid funding.

An exciting part of the trip was meeting with two representatives I already met previously. One of them was attorney and representative of Philadelphia County District Joseph C. Hohenstein of District 177. I knew him because while he was campaigning he coached my youngest brother Luke in soccer. He also has had polls set up in a coffee shop my parents own called “Great Awakenings.” The other one was Representative of District 202 and Lawyer Jared Solomon. He shared his story with us on why supporting Financial Aid was important to him. I knew him because he came to many events our family coffee shop hosted.

After lunch and a walk we went to the final office in another building.  We met a staff member of Senator Pat Toomey named Larissa Bailey. The Senator still went above and beyond, providing gift baskets for a Manor fundraiser taking place on April 11th. Each time we met with a representative, I felt more comfortable introducing myself with my elevator pitch. This whole trip to me gave me experience to what it is like interacting with others in the real world.

This trip at the end of the day left me with a big smile on my face. I have Kimberly Hamm to thank for making this possible. This was an honor for me to be asked to advocate for this issue. I am very glad we got support for making this plan a reality. I would also like to thank Stephanie Walker, Chelsey and Keliany for coming with their experiences as well. Walker had these words to say about the trip: “the advocacy day in Harrisburg was an amazing experience.  I was happy to share the day with three Manor students who told their stories and advocated for sustained financial aid in the state of Pennsylvania. I was proud to see our students speaking directly to State Representatives and Senators and engaging in conversations that will support of higher education.  It was an unforgettable experience!”

I would like to close with a statement from Kimberly Hamm: “It’s a great honor to stand with our amazing Manor College students as they share what our campus community means to them with our Pennsylvania legislators. It’s important that we share our Manor Stories so that everyone knows the great work being done here at Manor College. “

If you have any questions about my trip or this article you can email me at and I will be glad to answer your questions.

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