A group of Radford University students along with faculty and administrators made the trip recently to the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond to advocate on behalf of the university.
Over the course of two days, the group met with House of Delegates and Senate members “to speak to them about Radford, to thank them for their support, share our experiences and tell them why we love Radford and how it has shaped us into who we are,” senior Kim Bythewood said.
As the Radford students gathered in and around the Capitol building, they spoke in person with Virginia legislators, many of whom represent their home districts, as well as others who play important roles in the Virginia political system.
“I told my friends about it, that we were going to the Capitol to advocate on behalf of our university. It’s actually us doing it,” said Michaela Baker, a junior sociology and political science major from Charlotte. “We are the people who are doing that. It’s not like we are with other people from the university who are doing all the talking, and we’re just standing around listening,” Baker said. “No, we do the talking, and the delegates listen to us and listen to our feedback. It’s really cool to be able to get that experience, to talk to them and to make our case for Radford University as to why it deserves their support.”
Baker also was thrilled her group had a chance to meet with Sarah Spota, the newly appointed deputy secretary of education in Virginia.
“That was a great sit-down conversation, and she let us ask any questions we wanted,” said Baker, who also participated in Advocacy Day two years ago as a freshman. “She was so kind and offered so much good advice to us.”
Baker, Bythewood, and other students also spoke highly of their experience meeting and talking with Virginia Del. Jason Ballard, who represents Radford and introduced the group during a House of Delegates session. “He is such a great guy,” Baker said, “and it’s nice to see he is making such a positive impact.”
In addition to sitting in on a House session, students toured the Capitol building.
Nineteen students were selected for the year’s Advocacy Day, a tradition that began more than 20 years ago. Before they ventured off to Richmond, a group of Radford faculty and administrators provided three training sessions, giving the students tips on greeting and talking with the lawmakers.
“The information was super helpful, and they laid out a simple presentation with a lot of data,” said Christiansburg senior sociology major Reed Yearwood, “about how the university works in terms of numbers, in terms of dollars, operational costs, and financial aid.”
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