NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee lawmakers experienced a wave of Tiger Blue at the state Capitol on Wednesday.
Tennessee State University administrators, faculty, students, alumni converged on Legislative Plaza and the Hill to showcase the university’s research and other innovative initiatives at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol.
Displays from the school’s various colleges and departments lined both sides of the hallway in the plaza. Robotics, magnolia trees, research presentations and goats were among the booths showcasing the university’s diverse academic offering.
In the Senate chamber, the site of the kick-off ceremony, TSU President Glenda Glover thanked attendees for their participation and lauded state legislators for the funding they have provided the university. She noted Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent allotment of funding in his budget for a nearly $40 million Health Sciences Building at the institution.
Glover said TSU has been “good stewards of our state funding,” and encouraged lawmakers to continue supporting the university. She said the Day on the Hill is an opportunity to discuss the school’s legislative priorities with lawmakers.
“It’s very important that legislators are aware of our needs,” the president said. “The past and the future appropriations allow TSU to continue its long-standing legacy of providing a quality education to our most important customer and client, our students.”
Senate Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson, R-Hixson, was among several state lawmakers who spoke to those gathered in the Senate chamber. He thanked them for being engaged in the legislative process.
“Our system of government is not easy,” Watson said. “Democracy is not easy. It is the battlefield of ideas. And each of us has the right to have our voice heard, and you’re having your voice heard today. And I greatly appreciate you being engaged in that process.”
Rep. Harold Love Jr., a Nashville Democrat whose district includes TSU, said after the kick-off event that he hopes young people in attendance will become more interested in the legislative process, and even try to have a voice in policymaking.
“When we talk about active citizen engagement and forming policy, this is a prime example of what we would like to see from all of our students at colleges and universities across the state,” Love said. “This is what citizens are supposed to do, come down and be actively involved in policy formulation when laws are being passed or proposals considered.”
RaCia Poston, president of TSU’s Student Government Association, was among a number of students who participated in the special TSU day and one of 17 TSU students serving as interns during this session of the Tennessee General Assembly.
While she was motivated by what lawmakers had to say, she was particularly proud of TSU having the opportunity in general to showcase what’s happening at the university.
“A lot of times people only see what the media puts out about TSU,” said the 23-year-old Poston, who is a senior majoring in Social Work. “So for us to be here and show our smiling faces, and everything that we have to offer, from agriculture programs to engineering, I think it does a lot for TSU.”
Prior to the kick-off ceremony, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell greeted the TSU delegation to the Capitol and shared their pleasure of seeing such an enormous group. TSU held its first Day at the Capitol in 2014.
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.