Funding for the University of Mary Washington’s Dahlgren campus appears to be a likely component of the Virginia state budget, based on students’ impressions from Lobby Day on Jan. 20.
Legislative Action Committee members and other UMW students were able to address their concerns with the Virginia General Assembly last Thursday.
“The impression we got was that they were behind this Dahlgren effort,” Legislative Action Committee President junior William Spaulding said. “A lot of them were on the same page.”
In addition to the time they spent addressing the issue of Dahlgren funding in the budget, students were able to spend time observing some of the legislative process. It was not only a political effort but also a day for experiential learning.
The students were able to meet with General Assembly Speaker Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg), with whom they had made an appointment to lobby for the Dahlgren funding.
Sophomore and LAC member Ryley Trahan got the same positive impression from their meetings, noting that the Dahlgren campus initiative is already in the proposed budget.
However, another primary concern for the students is non-specific funding for higher education.
“I was in Richmond today to increase funding for Virginia public schools,” Trahan said.
Student awareness of the issue is to be promoted on Monday in the Great Hall, where students will be asked to write e-mails to representatives.
Trahan and other students will go to Richmond on Feb. 3, in a further effort to gain funding for higher education in the House Bill 2510.
The bill is to evaluate the state’s role in funding an institution’s basic operations, in addition to addressing enrollment-based funding and creating innovation incentives.
Many state funds incorporate a rainy day fund for times of economic and financial hardship, but higher education does not have that option, according to Trahan.
“Hopefully we can push that trough,” Trahan said.
The budget will be finalized in the coming weeks, when the General Assembly’s session comes to a close.