March 30, 2011

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UUPers team with EOP/EOC students


UUP member Sophea So, an Educational Opportunity Program academic coordinator at SUNY Brockport, expresses her concern about continued state funding for EOP during a meeting with Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon), inset, in Albany on March 29.

“We want to make sure that EOP doesn’t lose additional funding,” So told Pretlow, shown with some of her EOP students who traveled to Albany along with fellow UUPer Dave Ballard of Buffalo Center, left.

So and Ballard were among nearly two dozen UUP members who led more than 50 EOP and EOC (Educational Opportunity Center) students to visits with 35 state lawmakers on UUP’s special advocacy day for EOP and EOC.

The EOP provides academic support and financial aid to low-income students who want to attend college. EOCs help prepare students for college or vocational training programs.


UUP President Phil Smith briefed the students prior to their visits with lawmakers, explaining they play a key role in helping the union present its case for a sufficient level of state support for SUNY.

“Some lawmakers see us as a special interest, but when they see you, they see you are our special interest,” Smith said.

The students engaged lawmakers on a personal level, explaining how EOP and EOC have changed their lives for the better.

Nearly 17,000 eligible students were denied access to EOP last year due to budget constraints. Some students are on waiting lists to participate in various EOC programs.

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