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SG to raise awareness about funding

Outside Cooper Hall today Student Government will gather at their bi-monthly BullSit passing out petitions. SG’s goal is to raise student’s awareness about the Bright Futures and College Pre-Paid scholarship programs.

Ryan Caruso, SG senate president, said he has about 1,000 petitions prepared for the event and hopes they will all be filled out.

“Last year we had a huge response,” Caruso said. “We collected over 10,000 petitions to save Bright Futures and brought them to the Legislature.”

The event, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is one step that SG is taking to raise awareness, Caruso said.

“Even though Bright Futures and Pre-Paid are not on the ‘chopping block,’ we want to tell the legislators where they should send the funding to,” Caruso said.

Caruso added that after the petitions are gathered, SG will bring them to USF Day at the Capital, an event when SG, students and alumni travel to Tallahassee in the beginning of April to talk to the Florida Legislature about USF and about funding higher education.

“We want to show them how we feel,” Caruso said. “If the program is lost, I don’t know what students will do.”

SG’s efforts are similar to those of the 11 university presidents, Caruso said, in that they are trying to raise awareness and show that funding for higher education is important.

In October, the Legislature allocated the unclaimed lottery jackpot money to go toward higher education. Caruso said what SG wants with the jackpot money is to keep tuition low and to make sure the universities get the funding.

“If they raise tuition, the scholarships (Bright Futures and Pre-Paid) will die out,” he said. “We need more classes and (we need to) add more buildings with that money.”

Caruso said he hopes students will be advocates to keep the scholarships and help SG in their efforts to lobby the state for proper funding of higher education.

“We encourage them to sign the petitions, tell their friends in high school, tell their parents and write letters to voice their opinion,” he said. “Hopefully with the petition we can keep the scholarships alive.”