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The Blue & Gray Press | August 23, 2019

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SGA neighborly with city council

By REGINA WEISScouncilone

Two Student Government Association (SGA) members from the University of Mary Washington were invited to represent the university at the bi-monthly Fredericksburg City Council meeting last Tuesday.

Senior history and political science major Jeremy Thompson, SGA president, and senior communications major Kagan McSpadden, director of community outreach for the SGA, opened the Feb. 26 meeting with a presentation on UMW community service projects.

Thompson highlighted numerous specific community service projects on campus that were completed this past semester, as well as annual community service events.

When talking about what defines UMW, Thompson said, “The one thing we say time and time again is that what brings students to the University of Mary Washington is community.”

He told the council about the 50 students who volunteered in the Fredericksburg community for the homecoming clean-up project as an example of students working together to “make sure Fredericksburg remains beautiful, as it was when we first got here,” Thompson said.

Thompson showed a slideshow of pictures and spoke about annual events such as Pumpkin Palooza and Spring Forward Festival, two annual events that the university students put on for children in the Fredericksburg community.

He also spoke about the “service-oriented” inauguration of UMW President Rick Hurley that included building benches on campus.

Students volunteered for a total of 13,896 hours last year, not including possible un-documented hours by students, Thompson said, stressing the “University’s commitment to service overall.”

McSpadden spoke to the council specifically about Good Neighbor Day, which will be held on March 16.

The program will involve UMW students in the Fredericksburg community surrounding the campus doing yard work, including tasks such as painting fences, mulching and weeding for area residents, according to McSpadden.

There are 120 students currently signed up for Good Neighbor Day, and efforts to recruit more students are ongoing.

The team collaborated with Vocellis Pizza on campus to put flyers in pizza boxes as an advertisement.  The ICA club with the largest percentage of participants in Good Neighbor Day will win a pizza party.

There will be a BBQ after students finish volunteering and water bottles and t-shirts will be given to all student volunteers on the day of the event.

While the event has occurred in the past, this is the biggest year yet, according to McSpadden.

Thompson ended the student portion of the presentation by highlighting his respect for the community and the city and encouraged the council to reach out to the university for any help needed in the future.

Following the presentation, Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw shared Thompson’s sentiments.

“The feeling is mutual,” said Greenlaw. “We do love our university, and we’re very proud of it and the fine young people who attend there.”

Thompson and McSpadden had spoken about Greenlaw’s interest in helping out the university and their future plans to collaborate with the city council.

Thompson said he has met monthly with Greenlaw to keep communication strong between UMW and the Fredericksburg community.

Greenlaw will attend Good Neighbor Day to support the efforts and Fredericksburg City Council member George Solley will come to speak at the event as well.