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Students for a Renovated Pillsbury Hall

Why should Minnesota lawmakers support this project? English students explain
March 14, 2018

English major Abbey Benning testifying at Capital Investment Committee meeting

English major Abbey Benning testifying at Capital Investment Committee meeting
English major Abbey Benning testifying at a meeting of the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee in St. Paul February 27

Senior English major Abbey Benning (above) spoke to the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee February 27 in St. Paul about the importance of the Pillsbury Hall renovation for the thousands of U students who take English classes every year. Watch Benning's speech here (begins at 1:07:00). Governor Mark Dayton included the University's Pillsbury Hall project in his 2018 Capital Budget Recommendations, and legislators are now deciding on their own proposed budgets. In support of the renovation, English undergraduate and graduate students have been meeting legislators, sending letters and postcards to their representatives, and writing op-eds for their local newspapers. (You can too: more information here.) A sample of what they're saying:

"When Virginia Woolf poses the rhetorical question, 'What have women and fiction got to do with a room of one’s own?' we, along with Woolf, anticipate the answer, 'Everything!' To support the renovation of Pillsbury Hall is to provide for the future flourishing of the University of Minnesota English Department."
PhD candidate Elizabeth Howard

Students sitting on floor of hallway in Lind
Current study space for students in Lind Hall

"Lind Hall is not adequate to fit both the College of Science & Engineering and the English Department."
English major Jane Bollweg

"English undergraduates need one building that holds classes and professors' office hours, offers a studious environment, and provides us with the opportunity to network. When the English department moves, we will become a stronger community."
English minor Logan Sweeney

"When I was a child, stories were a form of escapism from poverty and loneliness. Now stories have become a place to preserve culture and a medium for humanizing marginalized voices; they remain a place of joy. If stories keep history and ourselves alive, they need a home too."
MFA candidate May Lee-Yang

"When the English
department moves,
we will become a
stronger community."
Logan Sweeney

"Our students end up in random available classrooms around campus that aren't always in the best of shape."
English major Kory Verhaagh

"Playwright Oscar Wilde once said, 'Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.' Pillsbury Hall is the condition the English Department needs for greatness."
English major and Creative Writing minor Hannah Brady

"There have been many problems with technology and rooms in my past English classes."
English major Zubda Altaf

"The infinite imagination within all humans culminates in the story. To focus our study of humanity and the stories we tell, English needs a home."
English major Ryan Quinn

We've also collected statements of support from recent graduates. Plus: six more reasons Minnesota needs a renovated Pillsbury Hall.