The Affordable Higher Education campaign at the core believes that education is a right and public higher education is a public good. We strive to create accessible and affordable UMass Amherst campus. For the last few years the campaign has focused on free public higher education. The goals of the campaign have focused on educating students and the larger campus around issues of affordability within higher education and prompting students to organize and advocate for policies that create more affordable systems of higher education, ultimately resulting in free public higher education.
• Screened the documentaries “Ivory Tower” and “Starving the Beast” and discussed the rising costs of earning a degree and how privatization and business models that prioritize expansion over the quality of learning are negatively impacting public colleges and universities.
• Hosted Senator Jamie Eldridge for a panel discussion on his free public higher education bill in the Massachusetts state senate.
• Co-organized Advocacy Day with PHENOM, where we took 60 students to Beacon Hill to speak with legislators about the importance of increasing state funding for colleges and universities.
• Engaged UMass System President Meehan in discussion on strategies to increase state funding for public colleges and universities.
• Co-hosted state Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose with MassPIRG in a panel discussion on concrete ways in which the Massachusetts legislature can make higher education affordable.
• Collaborated with the Social Justice & Empowerment Committee of the Student Government Association to engage Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Enku Gelaye about crafting policy aimed at creating more resources for first-generation and low-income college students.
• Organized Gen Day 2017 in collaboration with other student leaders and RSOs to share experiences as first generation and low-income students, as well as share information about available resources on campus.
• Partnered with the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) to collect signatures for 2018 ballot questions regarding a $15/hour minimum wage and paid family and medical leave.