On March 28th, the American Heart Association held the third annual Student Day at the Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Students from Illinois State University and University of Illinois Springfield, led by You’re the Cure volunteers Dr. Jacqueline Lanier and Scott Saxe, attended an advocacy training in the morning and then spent the afternoon lobbying at the Capitol. The students asked their lawmakers to protect and preserve the daily physical education (P.E.) requirement in Illinois schools and to include a sugary drinks tax in the state budget package.
hero_image_alt_text===Student day at the Capitol
thumbnail_alt_text===Student day the Capitol
The lobby day started at Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation where American Heart Association taught students how to be effective advocates and briefed them on the P.E. and sugary drinks tax campaigns. After lunch, students made their way to the Capitol and watched from the Senate Floor Gallery as Senator Laura Murphy introduced them and encouraged other senators to meet with the students that afternoon.
At each office visit, students dropped-off personalized notes explaining why these issues are important to them and critical for the health of all Illinoisans. In addition to the handwritten notes, these young advocates delivered large stacks of petitions to every State Senator and State Representative, which helped show legislators the amount of support in their districts for the daily P.E. requirement and the sugary drinks tax.
There is still time to show your support for these important issues! Here are a few ways you can add your voice to the P.E. and sugary drinks tax campaigns:
- Don't forget you can use social media to recruit advocates to your cause by using the hashtag #ProtectPeIL for posts supporting physical education or #OneSmallChange for posts on the sugary drinks tax.
If you are interested in attending next year’s Student Day at the Capitol, please reach out to Rae O’Neill and [email protected] for more information. You do not have to be a student to attend. If you teach a college course and are interested in engaging your students or student group in advocacy or would like to incorporate Student Day at the Capitol into your course syllabus, please contact Anne Simaytis at [email protected].