UWG students, faculty and administration visited the Georgia State Capitol to join the Senate is officially recognizing Feb. 2, 2015, as UWG Day. This is the second year UWG has been invited to receive this honor.
Jonathan James, Chief Justice of Student Government Association (SGA), worked with Ashley Jones, Government and External Relations/Special Assistant to the President, to coordinate with the Capitol and plan the day’s activities.
“The purpose of the event is to allow students to visit with state legislatures,” said James. “They get to see what actually gets done at the Georgia State Capitol and how it directly affects the university and its students.”
SGA sponsored a bus that allowed student representatives to ride together to Atlanta and participate in the day’s events. Due to restrictions involving transportation, attendance for the event was limited to 26 students. The students selected to represent the university at the capitol included SGA Senators, Blue Coats and a few Political Science students.
Various faculty and administration were also invited to attend, including Scott Lingrell, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and Chris Geiger, Associate Director for Center for Student Involvement. Some of the faculty and administration opted to ride the bus with the students, allowing them extra time to discuss the purpose of the day and what they felt were important talking points. This time together furthered SGA’s goal of promoting campus unity.
“Our duty as SGA is to promote unity between students, faculty, staff and administration,” said James. “And days like today do just that. When everyone is together and you’re not looking at someone as a boss or vice president, everyone can discuss topics openly.”
Students were also able to meet and discuss issues with local senators and representatives. State Sen. and UWG alumnus Michael Dugan acted as an unofficial tour guide for the day, along with fellow alumnus State Rep. Dustin Hightower. Other legislatures for the Carrollton/Newnan area include State Sen. Crane and State Rep. Nix, Cooke and Smith.
SGA Vice President Solomon Seaborn took advantage of this opportunity and presented Dugan with questions ranging from the Affordable Care Act to the possible change in Georgia’s gas tax.
“The ability to ask questions and talk to senators and representatives about important issues is my favorite thing about this event,” said James. “If a student has a question, they shouldn’t hesitate to ask.”
After briefly meeting with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the university representatives were permitted to observe the Senate from the upper level.
University President Dr. Kyle Marrero, Dugan, Crane and UWG mascot Wolfie accepted the recognition on behalf of the university. Cagle introduced the recognition to the Senate and allowed Dugan and Marrero to say a few words emphasizing UWG’s growing impact on Carrollton and the state of Georgia as a whole.
“When I was going there, UWG was called the best kept secret education in Georgia,” said Dugan as he addressed the Senate. “It’s obviously not a secret anymore. We’re a leader in academics, athletics and community relations.”
Attendance rates rose 2.3 percent in 2014 as the student body grew to 12,206 students and the fall football season saw the Wolves’ first playoff berth in over a decade. The university is most certainly on its way to fulfilling its goal of being the best comprehensive university in the nation. The factors contributing to this new success are the university’s leadership and the supportive local community.
“A great deal of credit for UWG’s success is because of the great leadership team we have there,” said Dugan. “The one who put that leadership team together is my friend and president of the university, Dr. Kyle Marrero.”
Marrero’s dedication to this institution has acted as the driving force to setting higher goals for the university than ever before.
“The two things that keep me up at night are if we prepare our students to enter the workforce and what have I, what has our institution done to create jobs,” said Marrero.
In order to prepare our students for their future careers, the university needs the proper facilities and funding. Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year included a $1.9 million delegation for planning and designing a renovated Biology Building at UWG. Having alumni like Dugan and Hightower working in both chambers of the state government helps ensure that UWG receives the proper attention it deserves.
Marrero boasted UWG’s previous accomplishments to the Senate floor and rallied for what he has in store for the coming years.
“This is a special university,” said Marrero. “Just wait to see what we’re going to do.”