AdvocacyThe Millersville Advocacy Program (MAP)
The Millersville Advocacy Program (MAP) is a grass-roots effort to gain support for higher education in Pennsylvania and more specifically for legislative initiatives at Millersville University.
Participants in the program are Millersville alumni and friends who have expressed an interest in assisting the University by contacting members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and encouraging their support of higher education. Millersville University alumni and friends can exact a positive response from their legislators and encourage stronger support during this decision-making process.
Why Should Alumni Get Involved?
Regardless of how you view legislative politics and policy-making, one thing is certain: You have a vested interest in the decision-making process. Chances are you have very specific concerns. As a business person, for example, you might pay close attention to the effects of state and federally mandated employee benefit plans. As a parent, you will probably be interested in the skyrocketing cost of tuition. As a Pennsylvania taxpayer, you are probably concerned about where your dollars are spent.
If you have been involved at any level of state or federal government or have observed the process through the media, you understand how difficult policy-making can be. Competing interests vie for attention, but there is never enough money to provide for all. Legislators face many short-term pressures as issues arise. They are not "all-knowing" or "all seeing," and they need your input to make determinations that will have a long-range effect on some of our community's biggest challenges. There is not always a lot of response time for concerned citizens to address critical issues. An advocacy program such as MAP must be in place if we are going to be effective in helping to exact change.
Your Role as a “MAP” Advocate
Millersville University alumni are uniquely qualified to help policy-makers focus on critically important long-term issues for improving higher education in Pennsylvania. Your advocacy role may be to...
- Familiarize yourself with the legislative process in Pennsylvania.
- Learn about Millersville University and its major initiatives.
- Attend alumni and university events.
- Contact your state legislators to support higher education and Millersville University by telephone, mail, fax, email and/or personal visits.
- Stay connected to the Office of Alumni Engagement with pertinent information regarding Millersville’s legislative position.
- Attend legislative fundraisers on behalf of Millersville University, based upon your own personal interest and financial ability.
- Encourage other MU alumni to participate in letter-writing campaigns or telephone trees to legislative representatives outlining and supporting MU's legislative priorities.
Feedback from constituents is important to elected officials. Contacting your legislator is an easy and effective way to advocate for Millersville University. Take advantage of the following advocacy tools to help you prepare for your interaction with your legislator—whether you are conducting written correspondence, phone calls or face-to-face meetings.
There are four ways to communicate with legislators: email, written correspondence, phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Although a face-to-face meeting is the most compelling way to make a point, it may not be feasible to schedule a meeting with a legislator on short notice. Written correspondence and phone calls are also effective and oftentimes more convenient. Remember to copy the Millersville Advocacy Program staff in the Alumni Engagement Office on your correspondence and report back any information about the position of your legislator.
Visit Find Your Legislator for contact information for your representative.
Contacting Your Legislator
Written Correspondence and Phone Calls
Emails, letters and faxes are a convenient and easy way to contact your legislator while a phone call is an effective way to speak to legislators directly. Make sure you state your contact information so your legislator knows that you are a constituent—addressing concerns of constituents is a top priority for legislators.
Here are a few more tips for effectively communicating your position:
- Communicate your point clearly and briefly—be issue-focused. If writing, keep your communication to one page.
- If addressing a particular piece of legislation, include the bill number, title and subject matter.
- Add a personal touch about how this issue affects you.
- If the legislator asks questions you are not prepared to answer, refer the questions to the Millersville University Advocacy Program staff by email or at 1-800-681-1855.
- Respectfully request the legislator’s support on the issue and thank them for their time and consideration.
A scheduled face-to-face meeting is considered the most effective way to communicate with your legislator because it makes the most lasting impression and is relatively easy to schedule. On average, a meeting lasts 15 minutes and should not exceed 30. Here are some tips to help you maximize the meeting’s effectiveness:
- Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the latest action alerts, suggested talking points and any other information that may be relevant to your discussion.
- Be issue-focused and clearly state your point and provide examples of how this issue personally affects you.
- If a legislator disagrees with you, be prepared to politely restate your position and to respectfully listen to the opposing position.
- When you depart thank the lawmaker for their time, saying that you look forward to working together on another issue in the near future.
The sample letter below is provided to show the correct format for addressing your State Senator. It is impossible to provide one letter that would meet the needs of all students and alumni; so, you will need to personalize your letter to address your concerns or issues regarding legislation. Please use the left-hand column as a guide for the format, but make the letter unique to your needs!
City, PA Zip Code
The Honorable [Insert Senator's Name]
P.O. Box [Insert Address]
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Senator [Insert Last Name]
Introduce yourself; your name, address and school to identify that you are a constituent:
My name is [Insert Your Name] and I reside at [Insert Your Address] in [Insert Your City], Pennsylvania. I am a proud graduate of Millersville University.
Why are you writing your Senator?
I am writing to ask that you to support Millersville University in seeking funding for additional community projects, specifically... [Be specific with your suggestion, idea or request. If you are writing about a specific Bill, include the Bill Number - for example, H 1111 or S 2222]
Ask for a response:
I appreciate your help and ask that you send me a response regarding the results of this request. Please let me know if you are able to pass a Bill that would assist Millersville University in receiving the necessary funding to succeed.
Thank your Senator for his/her time:
Thank you for your time and considering my request.
Closing with your name:
[Insert Your Name]
Sample Letter - Word Document
Budget Process in Pennsylvania
Read how the Governor of Pennsylvania and state legislators are involved in the budget process, from budget preparation and submission through enactment and execution.
Budget Process in Pennsylvania (PDF document)
Ways to “MAP” what you need to know…
We've included a variety of activities, opportunities and ways for you to “MAP” out your plan because we recognize that the interests of our alumni are individual and varied. We encourage you to get involved at your own personal level of interest and comfort.
Speak from Personal Experience
You or your family benefited from Pennsylvania’s system of public higher education and you know that it can be a lifeline to opportunity and prosperity. Moreover, you understand the special role of our public universities and recognize that full access to a college education, regardless of background or geographical location, is essential for all our citizens.
Help Make Millersville University a Priority
By doing so, we can ensure that policy-makers place it on their agenda. You can help us by calling policy-makers' attention to your interest in education policy and thanking those policy-makers who are working hard to make higher education a priority in the state of Pennsylvania.
Share Your Story
Your Millersville experience is unique and valuable. By sharing your story with your friends, family and neighbors, you help spread the word about the great things happening at your alma mater. Don't be afraid to tell your state legislators about your college experience.
Thank Your State Representatives
Thank your State Representatives for supporting Millersville University and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, and for being your representative voice in the General Assembly.
Contact Your State Legislators
Contact your state legislators to support higher education and Millersville University by telephone, mail, fax, e-mail or personal visits.
Get to know the legislative process in Pennsylvania. Visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly's website.
Learn about Millersville University and its priorities. Check out Millersville University's website and read campus publications, newspapers and marketing materials.
- Millersville University Website www.millersville.edu
Tell Us What You Are Hearing
We need your feedback! Let us know what concerns your legislators have. Tell us what they think about Millersville University. Feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend Legislative Fundraisers
Attend legislative fundraisers, based on your own personal interest and financial ability. Information regarding these activities is available upon request.
Visit Harrisburg while the General Assembly is in session. Citizens are invited to observe the legislative process from the gallery.
Encourage Other Alumni
Encourage other MU alumni to participate in letter-writing campaigns or telephone trees to legislative representatives outlining and supporting MU's legislative priorities.
Remind Legislators that MU Deserves Support
Remind the Pennsylvania General Assembly that Millersville University is an outstanding institution with a time-honored history of providing a quality education to citizens of the state of Pennsylvania. Millersville University deserves continued support through the state budget. You might cite examples of university programs and scholarships that positively affect your area. Tell your legislators about these activities. University staff can help you identify some of the university's economic partnerships that have a positive impact in your community.
If you want to know more about the university's position on certain issues, ask us! University representatives will be pleased to brief you by telephone or to visit with you or your community when you have questions about current policies.