Hamilton’s Opportunity Programs staff and students traveled to Albany, N.Y., on Feb. 2 to meet with legislative representatives as part of New York Student Aid Alliance Advocacy Day. According to CICU, organizer of the event, “…. Advocacy Day is an opportunity for New York State students, faculty, financial aid and opportunity program administrators and other staff, as well as legislators, higher education policymakers and staff to come together to show support for student aid funding and higher education.”
Phyllis Breland ’80, director of Opportunity Programs, voiced a rousing call to action for all students and schools present at the main staircase in the Legislative Office Building. Then Hamilton Opportunity Program students Denise Meza Reyes '16, Sacharja Cunningham '19, Kaygon Finakin '19, Andres Aguilar '19, Adrian Summers '19, Shelby Castillo '19, and Delgado Corcoran '19 visited Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (117th District). They were joined by Opportunity Programs Assistant Director Brenda Davis and Academic Counselor Marieke Davis.
Later in the day, students met with Senator David J. Valesky (53rd District). Breland and students Summers, Cunningham and Reyes met with Assemblyman alumnus Ron Kim '02 (40th District). Students, many of whom are first generation college students, discussed how the financial aid and support services provided through HEOP were invaluable to their educational success.