Auburn's Lobby Board and other members of SGA made their voice heard on the importance of higher education on Thursday.
Members of college governments from across the state gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, for the annual Higher Education Day to advocate for the funding of colleges and universities.
"The commitment is to the students because that's the future of the state of Alabama, the future of America," said Mary Margaret Turton, Auburn's SGA president. "The commitment to making sure the higher-education experience is the best it can be is a commitment that was obvious that everyone at the event had."
Turton and the SGA presidents from the other 13 institutions in Alabama signed a pledge of support on the front steps of the Statehouse and delivered it to Gov. Kay Ivey.
The Higher Education Partnership welcomed over 1,000 total students to the state capital to celebrate Alabama's largest annual economic contributor — public universities.
Public universities have over a $20 billion annual impact on Alabama's economy.
The Alabama State University band led a parade from Cranton Bowl to the Statehouse, and Auburn's SGA members added their own flair with cheers of "Bodda Getta" and other fight songs.
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Noah Riddle, the director of governmental relations, leads Auburn's Lobby Board, which pairs students with lawmakers to advocate for the University's needs.
"As the economy continues to grow, the amount of funding that's appropriated for higher-education institutions, including Auburn, continues to grow with that, so that was obviously a large part of our conversation that is always nice to hear," Riddle said.
With budget limitations of the past, funding for public universities has fallen below 27 percent of the education-trust fund, but $400 million is available for next year's budget.
"One of the best attributes of the higher education is that the work of the universities is reinvested in the state, producing the best and brightest leaders for tomorrow and solving the problems of today is embedded in the mission of the statement of every university in the state," said Gordon Stone, executive of the Higher Education Partnership.
Featured speakers of the event included Ivey and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth. Sen. Tom Whatley and Rep. Joe Lovvorn, representing Auburn areas, also met with the Auburn students later in the day at the luncheon.
Riddle said all the lawmakers were enthusiastic about the event and saw the real impacts of the funding of higher education.
"With 14 institutions, the universities are enlightening students from every county and all ethnic groups,," Stone said. "Further, the institutions are geographically disperse so as to cover unique attribute of Alabama. The diverse missions allow for the universities to complement each other and meet the needs of all of Alabama's business and industries."
Riddle, and the 27 members of Lobby Board, will be back in Montgomery on Thursday for its annual Lobby Day, Auburn's individual annual event to lobby lawmakers on the importance of higher education.
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