By JONATHAN POLSON
Last Thursday, Jan. 19, three student representatives from the University of Mary Washington traveled to Richmond and lobbied for funding to finalize general operating costs for the Dahlgren campus.
The Dahlgren campus will house programs currently being held on the base provided by Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, George Mason University and Old Dominion University, as well as programs by the Naval Post Graduate School.
The programs are for naval officers and the 35 to 40 defense contractors in the area and are expected to involve various sciences, mathematics, computer, engineering and research fields.
Legislative Action Committee Chair William Spaulding, a senior, led the event along with Student Government Association President Robert Belcourt and student senator Sean Simons.
Spaulding said the main point of the trip was to support Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his campaign for higher education.
“We were able to meet specifically with Speaker Howell, Sen. [Bryce] Reeves and Delegate Cole,” said Belcourt, “but touched base and left information with close to 25 delegates and senators in the assembly.”
According to a SGA press release, McDonnell allocated $100 million to fund higher education.
Belcourt stated that the event was not only about “lobbying for operational costs at the Dahlgren Campus, but to thank Virginia lawmakers for focusing on higher education.”
“Higher education benefits everyone and has long term financial benefits,” said Spaulding.
However, he also stated, “It still depends on whether or not the senators and delegates vote in support.”
“It’s too early to tell at this point, but we are receiving tremendous support from Speaker Howell, Sen. Reeves and Delegate Cole,” said Belcourt.
UMW President Rick Hurley, who also accompanied the student representatives to Richmond, said he felt the lobbying was very successful.
“I believe students make good ambassadors and are compelling in their presentations,” said Hurley.
According to a SGA press release the Dahlgren Campus finished construction in December 2011 and opened on Jan. 3, 2012.