In his junior year at UMBC, Collin Wojciechowski ’13, political science, represented nearly 180,000 students within the University System of Maryland (USM) as their sole student representative on the Board of Regents. Wojciechowski advocated against “doomsday” budget cuts and tuition increases and successfully lobbied to overhaul the USM policy for assessing student fees, making students an active part of the discussion.
Without the aid of scholarships, he would never have been able to serve his fellow students in this way. We sat down with the newly graduated Sondheim Scholar to talk a little bit about the part scholarships have played in his life.
A: Being the son of a firemen and a public school teacher and the oldest of three brothers who all aspire to seek higher education, having the support of a scholarship was extremely important to my college career.
Q: Can you tell us a little about what it meant to you to be able to serve as the student regent, and then to continue working with legislators?
A: If I did not have a scholarship, I would not have been able to be the USM Student Regent; it’s as simple as that. I only had the time and ability to serve at that post because I did not have to work a side job to pay for college.
Being the Student Regent was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Representing students through such trying times as merger debate and the doomsday budget was the thrill of a lifetime. To then be able to take what I had learned on the Board and use it to represent Dr. Hrabowski in Annapolis was a dream. I have never had more fun then the Session I spent advocating for UMBC before legislators.
Q: Has that work given you added insight into education funding, and if so, can you talk a little about the significance of alumni support of education in Maryland?
A: Having been a member of the Advancement Committee of the USM Board of Regents, which oversees alumni giving, I feel I have a unique perspective on the significance that alumni support plays in higher education in Maryland. While our state, specifically Governor Martin O’Malley, has done tremendous things for public universities in terms of funding, student support and financial aid always need assistance. As students and their families continue to face economic difficulty it is up to the alumni base to ensure UMBC is a place welcoming to everyone.