In the News

Georgia Students Set Program Closure Protest to Music

April 6, 2010

Listen to the music:

“We Matter”

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“I Want to Be an RT”

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RT student Greg Grant heard the disturbing news that his RT program at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) in Savannah, GA, was on the verge of closure on his birthday, March 11. “I was in disbelief,” says the junior in the BS program. “I thought to myself, there’s no way they’re going to cut our program knowing we only have five classes left.”

Unfortunately, that could be the case. Due to state budget shortfalls, AASU has been charged with trimming more than $5 million from its budget, and the respiratory care program is on the chopping block, along with dental hygiene and speech pathology.

Grant and his fellow students took the situation directly to the local media, and several were featured on WTOC-TV speaking passionately about their program and their profession. The outpouring they received from the community encouraged Grant and fellow student Kevin Trappio to turn their message into music.

RT students at AASU are fighting hard to keep their program open.

Two rap songs were the result, both produced by Trappio. “The song titled ‘We Matter’ was inspired by an interview on AASU's respiratory therapy program by WTOC news. ‘We Matter’ touched on the direct issues with the current RT students hoping to graduate from AASU and the cancelation of their program,” says Trappio.

The second song, “I Want to Be an RT” was written by both Trappio and Grant and expresses the feelings of the current students and their relationships with their professors. The students have been circulating the songs throughout the community and plan to put “I Want to Be an RT” on the radio to help inform the public about the possible closure of their program.

The fate of the program is still up in the air, but Grant, Trappio, and their fellow students plan to continue their efforts to make sure the public knows about the situation and how vulnerable patients throughout the region will be affected if there are fewer RTs available to provide care.

Says Grant, “In the hospital setting, respiratory therapists are the cornerstone of patient therapy. RTs are placed in situations that dictate whether your family member or loved one lives or dies on a day-to-day basis. Respiratory therapists are in high demand throughout the nation, and now that Congress has passed the new health care bill, there’s going to be an even higher demand for respiratory therapists in America.”

Read more about what Grant, Trappio, and other AASU students are saying about their program and how closure could affect their future.