On Wednesday, Towson students will descend on Annapolis to present the Student Government Association’s legislative agenda to lawmakers.
The annual event is known as Tiger Pride Day, when Towson’s SGA leadership meets with legislators from key committees to make their concerns known on a state level.
“It sends a message to anyone in Annapolis,” says SGA Director of Legislative Affairs Zachary McGee ‘14. “Seeing lots of Towson University students walking around dressed in business attire shows that we are serious about our legislative initiatives.”
Because Towson University is a state school, education and funding bills up for votes in the Maryland General Assembly and its committees often have a direct effect on its students. The same is true for funding bills that help Towson build or expand campus facilities. This year, students with the SGA are advocating to redefine internships as set forth in House Bill 381; to move up funding for construction of a new building for the College of Health Professions; to minimize tuition increases; and to raise Maryland’s minimum wage.
“Many Towson University students work low-paying jobs while taking classes,” the SGA’s legislative agenda states. It argues that “as costs rise and their hourly wage remains flat, they are left further in debt upon graduation and at an economic disadvantage entering their careers.”
SGA President Charlotte Ridgeway ’14 says the SGA represents students both to the university’s administration and to the state, dealing with everything from Wi-Fi to campus safety and from academic success to affordability. Its conversations with state legislators often, but do not always, agree with the administration’s efforts. And the SGA’s positions don’t always come easily. “My fellow SGA members will debate their stance on an issue until a compromise is reached,” says Ridgeway. “These students care deeply about taking student concerns and making them a top priority.”
“Our SGA strikes the right balance between working with the administration and knowing when to act on our own,” says McGee.
Wednesday’s Tiger Pride Day in Annapolis will also feature a luncheon for Towson alumni and key state leaders—which may present students with a chance to do a little networking.
“Last year I sat down with Delegate [James] Malone (D – 12A) to discuss upcoming legislation,” Ridgeway remembers. He mentioned his daughter had just joined a sorority [at Towson]. Funny enough, it was my sorority and now she’s one of my closest friends.
“Being able to make connections such as these is one of my favorite aspects of attending this university.”