Mason Students Head to the State Capitol

Posted: November 21, 2013 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: November 22, 2013 at 7:01 am

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By Justin Lafreniere

Virginia Capitol building

The Virginia Capitol building in Richmond. Creative Services photo

At the Virginia State Capitol, delegates and senators haggle and parse over important state issues, and on Jan. 30, 2014, a group of George Mason University Patriots will travel to the annual session of the Virginia General Assembly. They will advocate for the university in an event known as Mason Lobbies.

Participated in by students, faculty, staff, administration and alumni, the event serves to let the state legislature know what issues are important to the university. This year, as many as 150 attendees are expected. The large contingent of George Mason representatives hopes to remind lawmakers in Richmond about the important research and learning that goes on every day at Mason.

Alexandria Murru was a junior when she went to Richmond with Mason Lobbies last year. Calling it “an amazing experience,” she says that the event was about both the past and future of Mason. “It showed me how much our university has grown and how supportive everyone in Virginia is of its growth.”

Originally an initiative of the Student Government at Mason,Mason Lobbies has grown to include support from the Graduate and Professional Student Association, the Office of Alumni Affairs, both the Staff and Faculty Senates and other groups.

The lobbying will promote issues that Student Government has decided to focus on, such as increases in financial aid and research funding for Mason; increases in faculty and staff salaries; support for same-sex partner benefits; and support for a state law that would allow undocumented immigrants of certain criteria to receive in-state tuition.

The day will begin with a breakfast with Mason President Ángel Cabrera and other guests, followed by a day full of meetings with legislators and policymakers before a photo session with the governor on the steps of the State Capitol. The event also includes lunch and recognition of the Mason delegation on the floors of both the House of Delegates and Senate.

As for Murru, she plans on going back this year to remind lawmakers of the great things Mason has done, and let them hear “from students themselves about how much their university experience has impacted their lives.”

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

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