SUNY Morrisville EOP students and staff journey to State Capitol for Advocacy Day

Staff and students at the Capitol for EOP Advocacy Day
Published date
11 a.m.

SUNY Morrisville students and staff were among those who ventured to the Capitol to advocate for continued Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) funding and support from state legislators during EOP Advocacy Day.

Students met with New York State Sen. Rachel May, Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, as well as other elected officials, sharing their EOP experiences and expressing the importance of continued funding for the program in the New York State budget.

The day was especially meaningful for EOP and criminal justice student Thomas Eison, of Jamaica, Queens.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Eison said. “One of the best days of my life was Advocacy Day. Being able to fight for what you love is always a blessing and comforts all four walls of my heart. It was an experience unmatched to what I was used to. It was very professional and the room was filled with passion to make a change in the lack of support programs like EOP have been given.”

EOP provides access, academic assistance and financial aid to students who may qualify as economically disadvantaged or are first-generation college students. Services include career counseling, academic assistance, tutoring and supplemental instruction.

Accompanying SUNY Morrisville students was Kayle Light-Curtin, director of SUNY Morrisville’s EOP and Access programs and Monica McGuire-Cartas, EOP counselor.  

“I’m incredibly proud of our scholars and the way they stepped up to advocate for EOP,” Light-Curtin said. “It was amazing to see them step outside of their comfort zone and see them shine. Sitting at the same table as elected officials, our students shared their personal stories and the impact that EOP has had on their lives. I'm thankful to have had this opportunity to share this experience with them.”

"An opportunity like this, where undergraduate student scholars have the chance to learn how advocacy, lobbying and the political process works is an opportunity for life transformation,” said SUNY Morrisville Provost Suzan Harkness.

“This single event will truly transform their lives in many ways. It will help students understand the power of their voice, the power of their individual actions and the importance to be informed citizens in this American democracy and an agent of change,” she added.

Students who attended EOP Advocacy Day were:
Thomas Eison, criminal justice student from Jamaica, Queens
Dante Adamson, criminal justice student from Bronx
Claudio Castro, business administration student from Bronx
Marcelino Vidal, individual studies student from Brooklyn

“Advocacy Day to me was a unique experience,” Adamson said. “I got to meet and see many important people. I also met students from other colleges that also advocated for EOP. This is the first time in recent history that Morrisville EOP attended Advocacy Day and I was glad to be a part of it.”

“Visiting the State Capitol and legislative building was an eye-opening experience,” Vidal said. “I’m just grateful that as SUNY Morrisville EOP students, we got to advocate for ourselves and our peers.”

“Spreading awareness about the budget cut is honestly crucial because not only is it affecting people financially, but also, if we think about the long-term, many students apply to college under opportunity programs like EOP,” Vidal added. “If we have less funding, these students may not have access to college. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to be an EOP student and that I had the chance to advocate for others.”