The Daily Gamecock

Alumni lobby leaders for higher education

Annual Carolina Day brings hundreds to capitol to oppose caps on tuition, out-of-state students

The inclement weather did not hinder hundreds of university supporters from attending the seventh-annual Carolina Day at the Statehouse Wednesday.

USC President Harris Pastides spoke to an audience of over 200 attendees, saying the “point was to show colors and wave our flag.”

Campuses across the state are rallying against a proposed cap on tuition, a proposed cap on the number of out-of-state students they can enroll and a proposed cut in in-state lottery funding, which accounts for more than 40 percent of higher education funds, according to Pastides. USC has suffered a 50 percent budget cut in the past two years.

“We want to show the people who vote and support the university that we can make a difference,” Pastides said.

The day was sponsored by the Carolina Alumni Association’s Carolina Action Network, and  representatives from all eight regional USC campuses interacted with state legislatures.

Higher education and student affairs graduate student Jaime Shook volunteered to lead a group of alumni and students from USC-Salkehatchie around the Statehouse to introduce them to their legislators.

“Higher education is a passion of mine, and I’m incredibly pleased with today’s attendance,” Shook said. “I have never attended an event like this before, but as an alumni and current graduate student, I think it is something that students should be serious about.”

Following the lobby day, Student Government brainstormed how the ideas on other campuses could benefit our own and vice versa. SG Vice President Katie Thompson said she hopes to improve communication among the USC satellite campuses in the upcoming academic year.

“We definitely want to make a huge event where all the other campuses can come together in the fall and talk about the things we’ve done so far,” Thompson said in the SG meeting Wednesday night. “I think they all have fantastic ideas, and we need to build off these networks.”