By Tina Meketa, University Communications and Marketing
More than 100 students and alumni joined USF leadership in Tallahassee on Wednesday for USF Day at the Capitol – an annual gathering that offers an opportunity to raise awareness about the university and its priorities ahead of the legislative session, which begins March 7.
The group included students from the College of Nursing, who shared directly with legislators how they are benefitting from a $40 million investment in the college in the 2022-2023 state budget. The funding supports efforts to help solve the nursing shortage by expanding undergraduate nursing education. Among the other highlights from last year’s session was a $55 million recurring increase to USF's operational budget, including new funds for each campus and USF Health, which represented the largest single-year investment in operational support that USF has received in its history.
President Rhea Law was joined on the visit by USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Christian Hardigree, Dr. Charly Lockwood, executive vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, USF Board of Trustees Vice Chair Mike Griffin and Ray Rodrigues, chancellor of the State University System of Florida.
Students attended panel discussions on advocacy and academic freedom, spoke with Justice Jorge Labarga during a tour of the Supreme Court, participated in a mock bill reading and vote in the Senate chamber and watched as the House convened for a special legislative session. They also had the opportunity to speak with several state lawmakers, including Sen. Shevrin Jones, House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, Rep. Spencer Roach and Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin.
Several alumni also participated in some of the day’s activities, such as Maya Brown, advocacy committee chair for the USF Alumni Association Board, and those who live in the Tallahassee area.
Students in the gallery
President Law and leaders give Go Bulls sign