Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 09:23 am est

Students advocate change in D.C.

Posted on March 27, 2014 | by Michael Frazier

File photo by Maria Michalos for WSN

D.C. Day, hosted by NYU’s Office of Government Affairs and Community Engagement and the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, was held on March 25 and 26 in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the event was for students to voice their support for student federal aid programs to members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

Federal programs include the Pell grant, Federal Work-Study, America Reads, Perkins loans and Stafford loans.

Tom McIntyre, the assistant director for external relations and special programs at NYU Washington, D.C., spearheaded the program, which has existed for almost 20 years. The first 10 years were in conjunction with Columbia University and Cornell University. However, NYU has organized D.C. Day independently for the last 10 years.

“A lot of our students rely on financial aid, so the hope is to find students affected by the decisions of Congress in their financial aid package … to go there to then explain the importance of student aid programs,” McIntyre said.

The day started with a breakfast on Capitol Hill, followed by NYU guest alumni speakers. The group of students then broke into groups of five and met with four members of Congress to advocate for and explain their experience with federal student aid. Some students watched a vote pass in the House of Representatives while others familiarized themselves with the city. The day ended with a tour of Capitol Hill.

CAS junior Preeth Srinivasaraghavan said she enjoyed her D.C. Day experience because the legislative directors were relatable.

“It was great to talk to them about financial aid, because they’re not too far from college, and they would probably understand a little bit better than someone who’s more senior,” Srinivasaraghavan said.

LS freshman Robert Devling said talking to the legislative directors was productive and he enjoyed the opportunity.

“I talked about them restoring levels of funding to pre-sequestration, and how important it is to, if they can’t increase funding, at least get it back to what it was,” Devling said.

Currently the maximum award for the Pell Grant is $5,730. For the benefit of the students, the Obama administration is requesting a budget increase, resulting in the maximum Pell Grant being increased by $100.

Steven Ettannani, legislative director and assistant to Carolyn McCarthy, highlighted the importance of students getting involved in sustaining these funds. Ettannani said it is the duty of students to explain their needs to lawmakers because their first-hand experiences are effective for advocating the cause.

“Education is especially important in this regard,” Ettannani said. “Lawmakers are often times decades removed from school, and the higher education landscape has changed incredibly over the years. School costs more for one and there are new ways to receive education and teach curriculum.”

Michael Frazier is a contributing writer. Email him at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.