Advocacy Day

A highlight of the trip was the meeting with Governor Terry McAuliffe. Pictured in the front row are: (L-R) Board of Visitors member Mark Lawrence, Delegate Joseph Yost, Gov. McAuliffe, President Brian O. Hemphill, Board of Visitors member Mary Ann Hovis and Board of Visitors member Jay Brown.

Pictured in the front row are: (L-R) Board of Visitors member Mark Lawrence, Delegate Joseph Yost, Gov. McAuliffe, President Brian O. Hemphill, Board of Visitors member Mary Ann Hovis and Board of Visitors member Jay Brown.

Advocacy Day is an event in which a number of students travel to Richmond for an overnight stay and day of advocating to Virginia Delegates and State Senators on behalf of Radford University. Advocacy Day is a great way to get a first-hand glimpse at Virginia politics, as well as a great networking opportunity to connect with state legislators and university administrators.

In addition to small group meetings with individual legislators, Advocacy Day provides a literal civics lesson in state governance. Students will typically interact with and have a group photo with the Governor; tour the Governor’s Mansion or Capitol Complex; attend a legislative reception, and have dinner at a nice Richmond restaurant – all at no cost to the students.

Radford University students meet with Delegate Todd Pillion’s legislative assistant, Tyler Lester ’15.
Radford University students meet with Delegate Todd Pillion’s legislative assistant, Tyler Lester ’15.
  • Overnight trip to Richmond
  • Meet with VA Senators & Delegates
  • Advocate for your University
  • Interact with Radford University’s Board of Visitors, President, Vice Presidents and Senior Administrators
  • Tour of the Governor’s Mansion or Capitol Complex
  • All lodging and meals paid by Radford University.
  • Remember: You are “ON” 24/7 the moment you exit the bus in Richmond
  • Be cordial, respectful, well groomed, and on time
  • Be well informed (if you are not sure of your facts, DO NOT GUESS)
  • Look for opportunities to share your message about why you love RU!

On Advocacy Day itself, groups of four or five students will paired with a RU Board of Visitor member or senior administrator and will be set up with a series of appointments with targeted legislators in the Virginia State Capitol General Assembly Building.

Mandatory Training Sessions

Students who are selected are required to attend all three mandatory training sessions to learn about becoming Advocacy Day Ambassadors and receive training on message development, legislative protocol, and small group interaction.

Students meet with Delegate Joseph Yost ’06, M.A. ‘08.
Students meet with Delegate Joseph Yost ’06, M.A. ‘08.

Overview of Process

Introductions:

  • Shake hands, make eye contact and use the legislator’s correct title
  • Introduce yourself by name, major, home town, etc. 
  • The “Lead Person” should identify the connections they or their family may have in common with the legislators or the communities they serve
  • One person should make sure to thank the legislator for their time and willingness to meet

Inject into the conversations:

  • Share your passion for what you are studying and what you love about Radford
  • Identify any special learning experiences you have had in your major 
  • What about Radford University is special or distinctive to you

Importance of Higher Education Funding for Radford University

  • Talk about the importance for continued funding for Radford University and higher education in general 
  • Discuss other identified or planned talking points
  • Affordability is important to student access, retention and graduation: all are priorities for Higher Education in Virginia

Closing comments (or if asked about legislative issues of concern to students):

  • Ask to please support Radford University when the legislator is making funding decisions
  • Remind that Radford University has students from all over the state
  • Ask the legislator to remember that Radford University needs state funding to sustain our excellence and maintain our affordability and accessibility
  • Thank the legislator again for the opportunity to meet with them