Marshall celebrated at the Capitol with MU Day

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Marshall University students, faculty and staff spent the morning at the state capitol building in Charleston Thursday to celebrate Marshall University Day at the Capitol, an event that showcases the different colleges, programs and activities that Marshall has to offer and why continued financial support from the Legislature is crucial.

“Any time that we have the opportunity to bring our students on trips, especially to our capitol where the state Legislature is and where these laws that ultimately affect them are happening and to do it on Marshall Day at the Capitol is just an even better opportunity,” Marshall Student Body President Matt Jarvis said.

The West Virginia House of Delegates and the West Virginia State Senate both passed Resolution 62 recognizing March 30, 2017 as Marshall University Day during the legislative session.

Before the session, legislators were able to visit over 40 tables in the upper rotunda of the capitol building that displayed the colleges, programs and activities that are made possible by funding from the state.

“It’s always one of the best days of the year for the Marshall family because we all really get to come together — students, faculty, staff and alumni — and celebrate Marshall and share the Marshall story with the Legislature and the governor,” Ginny Painter, vice president of communications, said.

The Legislature is considering cutting funding to Marshall and other universities in West Virginia due to the state’s financial crisis and budget deficit. MU Day at the Capitol allows lawmakers to see where funding to higher education goes and the positive effects that it has on the state’s students.

“I think that the Legislature and the governor understand the importance of higher education and I think that we were really able to demonstrate that today through 40-plus exhibits, displays and interactive activities really what the investment in higher education does in West Virginia,” Painter said. “I absolutely think we made a lot of progress today.”

Jarvis also said allowing state lawmakers to interact with students can have a big impact on when it comes to how legislators vote on higher education funding.

“Whenever you have those conversations suddenly that decision to maybe cut funding for higher education becomes a little bit harder, so we were hoping to get these students out here to let them talk, to get them that opportunity to give them a voice and to make connections,” Jarvis said.

Derek Scarbro, the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Gov. Jim Justice, said he enjoyed seeing the many members of the Herd at the capitol and that the governor understands the need for higher education.

“We’re working hard to try and keep down the amount of potential cuts to higher education because we do believe that is a good investment,” Scarbro said. “It’s a high priority for the state to invest in our young people and to keep them here and to help them grow the economy. It’s the only way we’re going to turn this state around.”

Scarbro presented a Marshall Board of Governors member a proclamation by the governor marking Thursday as Marshall University Day.

Scarbro said Justice was unable to attend the presentation because he was meeting with legislative leaders and that they were close to making a deal on the state’s budget.

The legislative session ends on April 8.

Adam Stephens can be contacted at [email protected] marshall.edu.

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