Chicago Student Union puts the ‘fun’ in ‘funding’
February 17, 2017
Filed under Features
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Last year, in the midst of the CPS budget cuts, Sabah Hussain, Div. 766, knew exactly what she had to do: speak out against the cuts.
“I knew there was something happening within CPS but didn’t quite know what exactly,” Hussain said. “I decided to attend a monthly general assembly meeting for the Chicago Student Union, and that’s one of the best decision I’ve made yet.”
According to the Chicago Student Union’s Facebook page, the group is composed of 100 students from charter high schools, public high schools and home-schools.
The group was founded in 2012 by students who were against CPS budget cuts and school closings.
Today, they work to advocate for equal funding by hosting rallies and protests. The CSU also works with state government to help give students a more active voice in politics.
“We’re trying to have rallies to bring awareness to equal school funding,” said Maya Hernandez, Div. 766. “Last year, our main goal was to help get equal funding for all schools, which is really important. Here at Lane we’re lucky but at schools on the south side, they don’t have a lot of funding.”
Hernandez joined the CSU last year with Hussain.
Shahnaseeb Butt, Div. 753, joined because of recent CPS budget cuts and closure of schools.
“These cuts are going to have lasting effects. Underfunded schools don’t hold kids attention as well and that leads to a lot of problems like crime, especially in inner city neighborhoods,” Butt said. “If kids aren’t getting good resources and good opportunities, then that cycle is just going to continue and possibly get worse.”
Members of the CSU also recently participated in the anti-Trump rally downtown, though it did not express the political views of CSU. Some, like Butt, protested against Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who is an outspoken advocate of charter schools and private schools.
“The actual rally and march was an exhilarating experience for me,” Butt said. “The raw number of people was overwhelming at times because I’m not one for huge crowds. At the same time though, being around thousands of people all fighting for the same cause made me feel strangely at home.”
Hernandez also participated in the rally, but for a different reason.
“I decided to participate because I myself am in a marginalized group and so are many of my friends so I felt the need to stand up,” Hernandez said.
Although the rally had a similar goal to the anti-Trump rally that happened in Washington DC, its overall tone was different, according to Butt.
“I was impressed with how well the protesters handled themselves,” Butt said. “The rally in Chicago was mostly peaceful, unlike the one in DC. I’m proud of how professional everybody kept it.”
CSU encourages students to become involved.
“Even if you can’t join [the CSU], you should definitely participate in some of the rallies,” Hernandez said. If any student is interested in joining, she said they should contact Chicago Student Union at [email protected]
Butt agreed. “I especially think freshmen and sophomores should join because even though Lane won’t be as hard hit as other schools, were still going to be feeling those effects,” Butt said. “As for seniors, even though it does not necessarily affect us but we need to make sure future generations have the resources they need.”
“There is no better way to enact positive change than to join the union,” Hussain said.