“Keene State Matters, Keene State cares.”
This is the chant senators heard Monday morning as they walked into the New Hampshire State House to hear testimony for the budget cuts.
The event, March on Concord, was organized by Student Trustee Hannah Hayes and Keene State College Student Body President Donnie Clemmenson.
Hayes and Clemmenson got funding for four 51-seat busses to transport KSC students to and from the rally. However, when it came time to actually board the busses at 8 a.m. only 70 students were signed up.
At the peak of the event around 100 students gathered outside the State House chanting and waving signs with slogans like “I love college but hate all the budget cuts.”
The event was held on Monday so it would coincide with the presidents of the University System of New Hampshire giving their testimony to the Senate Finance Committee.
When KSC President Helen Giles-Gee spoke, she presented written testimony from several KSC students who would be affected by the budget cuts.
One of the students was junior Class President Chris Cole, an in-state student from Cheshire County. In his letter, Cole explained all of his involvement on campus and how the budget cuts would affect the financial aid he relies on to attend school in-state.
“Keene State has the motto ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.’ Please help me continue my education and service,” Cole’s letter ended.
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Cole said while in the conference room, the chants from outside were clearly audible.
“It definitely made an impact on Keene State’s behalf,” he said.
Morgan Flagg is a junior who transferred to KSC from Lynchburg College in Virginia, he said that although he has not been involved in advocacy like this at KSC he was involved with student activism at his old school.
“This was pretty small scale, but it represented the college well on a personal level,” Flagg said. “We were loud enough and we were proud enough of Keene to let them know we were here.”
As the students began to board the busses at the end of the day, Hayes said she was not ashamed of the turnout.
“A lot of people said they were with us in spirit because they couldn’t miss class,” Hayes said. “I’m glad we had as many people as we did. Some people didn’t think we could fill one bus.”
The Senate Finance Committee will allow for public Testimony on Thursday, April 21 at the State House in Concord.
Sean O’Donnell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org