RU students meet legislators
The dialogue between the university and members of the legislature continued at the annual Radford University Advocacy Day in Richmond.
Thirty students made the trip to the state capital on Wednesday, Feb. 5 to meet their respective delegates and senators and present the issues most important to them and to the future of the university. They were joined by members of both the administration and the RU Board of Visitors.
“While diverse in their backgrounds and majors, the students all share a passion for our university,” said Dean of Students Irvin Clark. "The learning experience for the students was exceptional, the networking phenomenal and the motivation for future leadership undeniable.”
The RU delegation to Richmond was comprised of first-time attendees and Advocacy Day veterans, like SGA President Zach McCoy, who has attended for four years. “While in Richmond, we heard a lot about health care and other social issues. This semester I look forward to discussing how business and society intertwines and the relationship government has on the issues.”
McCoy will have the opportunity to bring his experiences back to campus in his Business and Society class, taught by Dr. Steve Childers, associate professor of management. Childers encouraged his students to attend Advocacy Day. As a supporter of RU’s Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Childers appreciates the relationship between the students’ experience in Richmond and his class.
“The course focuses on building the skills sets necessary for students to become a leader in promoting ethical and socially responsibility actions at the intersection of the economic, political, and social environments,” said Childers. “Advocacy Day is a great example for them to see every person has a voice and for them to be able to express that voice in a convincing way.”
Management major Jacqueline Askew from Chantilly saw the connection between what society and local communities want and how it is expressed to the governmental officials. “I will always take with me the importance of being able to connect with others outside of the workplace who share common interests and together the difference that can make in society,” said Askew. “This was a start to being more educated on what's happening around me and becoming a better leader in my own community so I can help others.”
Communication major Rebecca Pinsky from Richmond applied her knowledge of non-verbal communication skills and the importance of team work while visiting with legislators. “I saw the importance of staying polite and being diplomatic,” said Pinsky. “I made sure that every person in our group had an opportunity to speak. It’s the little things that help us see the big picture.”
Graduate-level students joined the delegation as well. MBA student Michael Dada from Gainesville said that his experience in Richmond taught him a lot about conduct in a professional or government setting.
“One thing that I learned and will be able to apply to the rest of my life is that connections go a long way,” said Dada. “But more importantly, I learned to treat everyone with respect even if it’s not reciprocated because that sets the tone for how the person will respond back to you.”
“The Advocacy Day experience is value-added,” said Dr. Margaret Hrezo, chair of RU’s Political Science Department. “The benefit to students goes beyond the classroom. It gives them confidence and skills to be better leaders. It helps the students grow as a person and be a better citizen.”
For students, a highlight of this year's trip was the opportunity to meet with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who also posed for a photo with the group in the Patrick Henry Building. The event is coordinated by the Student Government Association. Some Radford University Board of Visitors members and university administrators also accompanied the students on their visits.