COLUMBIA, S.C. — SCICU campus legislative advocates from across the state returned to Columbia Dec. 10 to kick off the annual “Thanks for my Tuition Grant” student letter-writing campaign.
The Dec. 10 luncheon at Columbia’s Capital City Club marked the first in-person gathering of campus legislative advocates since 2019. From March 2020 to late 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic moved all advocacy events to virtual gatherings.
“It was great having everyone in person again for the letter-writing campaign kickoff,” said Jeff Perez, SCICU president and CEO. “Bringing the teams from the campuses back together again creates an energy and excitement that inspires their work.”
Through the leadership and guidance of the campus legislative advocates, SCICU students wrote and sent nearly 7,200 thank-you letters to members of the S. C. General Assembly during the 2021 session. The legislative advocates in spring 2021 hosted many on-campus letter-writing events to mobilize Tuition Grants recipients. SCICU coordinated with the advocates to extend the reach of the thank-you messages on Twitter and Facebook, especially leading up to and during the 2021 S.C. Independent Colleges and Universities Week April 12-16.
“The letter-writing campaign is central to our advocacy on behalf of Tuition Grants, which are received by almost half of undergraduate students attending SCICU colleges and universities,” said Perez.
Just as she explained in previous years’ letter-writing kickoff events, S.C. Rep. Chandra Dillard (D-Greenville) again emphazised the very positive impression the student letter writing campaign on behalf of the Tuition Grants Program has on legislators.
Rep. Dillard and S.C. Senate Senior Budget Analyst Jake Scoggins both presented their outlook for the 2022 General Assembly session to kickoff attendees. They outlined potential related to the state having several additional billion dollars to distribute because of federal COVID-19 relief funding, carryover from the last fiscal year, and additional new revenue.
Rep. Dillard also noted the approval of new district maps for the SC House and Senate, which because of uneven population growth, resulted in greater representation for the Upstate and Lowcountry regions.
Eddie Shannon, SCICU Executive Vice President, recognized the highest-achieving campuses in the 2021 letter-writing campaign. Converse University, with 100 percent of its Tuition Grants recipients writing thank-you letters, won the 2021 award for greatest percentage participation. With 1,674 student letters sent to legislators, Anderson University won the award for the greatest number of Tuition Grants letters written in 2021.