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Students Show Bull Pride at USF Day at the Capitol

House Chamber

USF System students gather in the Florida House Chamber

Over 300 students from across the USF System, along with alumni and administrators, traveled to Tallahassee on November 14th to meet with legislators and advocate for the USF System, making this our largest USF Day at the Capitol to date.

Throughout the day students met with dozens of elected officials to discuss the 2018 USF System's legislative priorities and see firsthand how government works. Among the elected officials were USF alumni State Reps. Danny Burgess (Zephyrhills), Joe Gruters (Sarasota), Shawn Harrison (Tampa), Ross Spano (Riverview), Chris Sprowls (Clearwater) and Jackie Toledo (Tampa), as well as other elected officials from throughout the Tampa Bay region and the state.

This year's student attendees highlighted the diversity, engagement, and academic prestige of our student body with the presence of ROTC cadets, student veterans, USF Health students, and other student leaders. Sabreen Aulakh, a second year student at the Morsani College of Medicine, shared how impactful the day was for USF Health students saying they, "can be advocates alongside legislators for things we are passionate about like the construction of the new Morsani College of Medicine Building."

Students shared the opportunity to enjoy an interactive lunch with USF alumni panelists who work in and around state government, including Andrew Ketchel, consultant at Capital City Consulting, Jim Magill, lobbyist at Buchanan, Ingersoll Rooney, Merritt Martin, Public Affairs Director for Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute and Derick Tabertshofer, Legislative Aide for State Repressive Shawn Harrison. All four panelists spoke about their professional experiences, the importance of students being engaged in their community during college and after graduation, and gave advice on pursuing a career in government affairs.

The event closed with a VIP reception where students, alumni and legislators gathered at the historic Governors Club for an opportunity to network and celebrate the momentous day. State Representative Scott Plakon (Longwood), whose daughter is one of the students who attended USF Day at the Capitol, perhaps summed up the event best when he said, "There was green everywhere! They really had a presence. It was really gratifying to see the passion the students have for their university."