"We are Penn State, we are Penn State," were just some of the chants heard in the Capitol rotunda Wednesday, as Penn State students and alumni made their message clear about Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal.
Students from University Park and many of Penn State's 19 branch campuses packed the Capitol. About 500 students unified in Harrisburg to meet lawmakers who represent their home districts. The Penn State Alumni Association and several students groups organized the meet and greet, called 'Capital Day.'
Students spent the day telling legislators what they want to see happen this budget year.
"We're to a point now that student tuition is paying for the vast majority of our general fund budget and what we're hoping that happens this year is that we can get the proposed education reduction back to level funding," said Roger Williams, the executive director of the association.
Last year, Corbett proposed Penn State take a 50 percent cut, which was reduced to 20 percent. University president Rodney Erickson testified in February that a reduction of 30 percent will erode programs and possibly result in a tuition increase and layoffs.
In a meeting with Rep. Scott Conklin (D - 77th District) one student said, "we've already tightened our belt as much as we can," and that another cut will affect how Penn State offers education.
Ben Clark, a student leader at University Park said students have been circulating petitions among lawmakers, some of whom have signed it, saying they support eduction funding to be restored at Penn State. Clark says legislators are, 'listening' to their concerns.
Conklin believes in the end, the governor will reduce Penn State's funding between 20 and 15 percent.
Students say this is not good enough and that another cut could force some to drop out of college.
The Senate is not in session until later this month, meanwhile the House is still meeting. Students say rallying in the rotunda is the best place to gather in Harrisburg because lawmakers can hear their chants through the Capitol walls.