The Legislative Action Committee (LAC), a branch of the Student Government Association (SGA), sponsored a trip to Richmond, Va. on Feb. 8th for 13 students to advocate among state government representatives for the University of Mary Washington.
The group met with members of the House and Senate Education Committees in addition to Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36), Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-25), Del. Mark Cole (R-88) and Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-17). The students’ goals in these meetings were to inform the politicians of the many different things UMW students and faculty are doing.
Many other public universities in Virginia hold similar Lobby Days in order to advocate for their schools. Lobby Day is a relatively new university tradition that started in the early 2000’s when the school decided to develop a greater presence in Richmond.
According to the 2012-2013 University Budget Plan and tuition and fees, the university receives 20 percent of its funding from the state. This means Lobby Day is an important way for the university to connect with state politicians.
“Any time you can sit down with a person who helps control a significant portion of our university’s funding and articulate the benefits on their investment is a positive thing,” said senior Sean Simons, LAC chairman and of the students who participated in Lobby Day.
Simons also expressed an interest in continuing the Lobby Day tradition and encouraged students to participate.
“Lobby Day is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who is passionate about our university,” said Simons. “You don’t need to love politics; all you have to do is love Mary Washington.”
President of the SGA and senior History and Political Science major Jeremy Thompson also attended Lobby Day.
“This year the SGA has told students that their voice is heard all over and this is a testament to the power of the student voice in Richmond,” said Thompson, “Also, the BOV was very proud of those efforts and were so impressed.”
Kimmy Slater, a junior sociology major, believes Lobby Day benefited the university.
“It’s always nice to get our name out there,” said Slater.