Livingston, Al — Higher education may seem like a personal improvement, but the overall effect of higher education is more than just a degree on a wall. When a citizen of Alabama gets a degree from a university, that citizen will be making more money. This sounds great from a direct viewpoint, but that also means the citizen will pay more income taxes. With more income taxes being paid out to Alabama’s communities, the roads, schools, and economy improve.
Alabama’s Higher Education Partnership is an organization whose entire purpose is to promote higher education in Alabama’s four year public universities. Each year, Alabama’s Higher Education Partnership organizes a rally called Higher Ed Day. Higher Ed Day is a rally of Alabama’s 15 public four year university students, faculty, and staff. Martez Reeves, Junior, encourages everyone he knows to attend the event. “This will be my third year attending Higher Ed Day. If you can afford to miss a day of school come out to Montgomery with us. It is a blast.” This event is held to promote higher education and to show the state how important higher education is to the citizens. The rally also helps promote funding to the Universities. With tuition rates on a constant rise, Higher Ed Day informs the congressmen that Alabama’s Universities need more funding. The rally is not all seriousness. Junior, Deshawn Lawson, says a lot of fun is involved. “Higher Ed Day is just all around a good time. Everybody is so pumped up and it is for a good cause.”
Every year, The University of West Alabama participates in Higher Ed Day. Students are encouraged to sign up for the trip to Montgomery every Spring. The campus is always buzzing those few days before with students making protest signs and picking up T-shirts. When the day finally comes, UWA students load up and head for Alabama’s capital. After arriving in Montgomery, students line up in a parade-style manner. UWA’s Scarlet Band leads the parade of students. While the band plays the fight song throughout the streets of Montgomery, students from all over the state are chanting and waving signs in the air. Jordan Williams, sophomore, explains that this is the most exciting part of the day. “My favorite part of Higher Ed Day is seeing the people come out of their workplaces as we walk down the streets. They look at us as if we have lost our minds. The free T-shirt and free lunch is also a plus.” At the end of the march, students gather in front of the State House and rally about higher education. After everyone is hyped about higher education and the rally is over, everyone goes and enjoys a free lunch across from the State House. The students then load back up and start to prepare for the excitement of next year’s Higher Ed Day.