Turning Annapolis black and gold

By Ray Feldmann on February 28, 2018

More than 100 students traveled to the state capital Wednesday for TU’s 19th and most successful “Tiger Pride Day”

The TU delegation poses for its traditional Tiger Pride Day photo with the state seal.
The TU delegation poses for its traditional Tiger Pride Day photo with the state seal.

On most days during the 90-day legislative session in Annapolis, the picturesque city is filled with legislators, lobbyists, and kids enjoying school field trips. But on Wednesday, the streets and halls of Maryland’s state capital were awash in black and gold, as Towson University held its 19th – and arguably most successful – Tiger Pride Day. 

More than 100 TU students traveled by bus  to speak with their senators and delegates, network, attend committee hearings (including one on school shootings and gun violence), and watch the House and Senate meet in session. From the reaction of those in attendance, Tiger Pride Day was a rousing success. 

I think it was amazing,” said Student Government Association (SGA) president James Mileo as the event was concluding. “I owe it all to the team that worked on this. We all worked so hard for so long, it was nice to see it come to fruition.  I had so many students and legislators tell me how meaningful it was. It was obvious from the tremendous turnout that a lot of people wanted to be affiliated with us.” 

SGA legislative director Braysia Hicks echoed Mileo’s assessment. 

Today was phenomenal,” Hicks said. “It was more than I ever expected.” 

A few moments earlier, in a packed conference room on the first floor of the Miller Senate Office Building, TU students and staff heard from a long list of distinguished speakers that included University System of Maryland Chancellor Bob Caret, Senate President Mike Miller, Comptroller Peter Franchot, TU President Kim Schatzel, and a host of state senators and delegates. 

“I have been associated with Towson University off-and-on for 42 years,” said Caret, a former TU professor and president, “and I have watched the campus literally triple in size during that that time. Towson University is growing and maturing as a university.  I always say, leadership does matter, and Kim Schatzel is providing the type of leadership we need.” 

Franchot pointed out how he had recently hired several TU alumni in his office, a move that he attributed to the “tremendous talent” being produced by Maryland’s fastest-growing university and the largest in the Greater Baltimore region. 

“Kim Schatzel has done such an outstanding job here in only two years,” Franchot observed.  “She has taken the university to the next level.  I want to thank all you guys for being down here and advocating on behalf of your university.” 

During their remarks, Senator Jim Brochin and Delegate Steve Lafferty – both of whom represent the legislative district where TU’s campus is located -- touted the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as its increasing minority enrollment. 

Clearly enjoying her third Tiger Pride Day, Schatzel referred to her two-year stint as Towson University president as “the best two years of my life.” 

It’s been fantastic,” Schatzel said of Wednesday’s event. “I’ve watched some terrific exchanges between our students and the legislators. We are proving over and over again that TU matters to the great state of Maryland. We are saying it often and we are saying it loud.” 

Prior to the noon luncheon, the 100+ students who made the hour-long bus trip to Annapolis observed the General Assembly in session—including the presentation of proclamations to SGA leaders by Senate President Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch—and met with individual legislators or their staffs in the House and Senate office buildings. 

For many, Tiger Pride Day proved to be an enriching, eye-opening experience. 

“We were encouraged to come by our professors, and I really wasn’t sure what to expect,” said senior communications studies major Morgan Schmidt. “I actually thought it would be more formal, and it was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be.” 

Junior Kylie Hipps, who was experiencing her second Tiger Pride Day, said that while last year she attended for class credit, this year she chose to come again because she felt it was important to advocate for her university and her fellow students. 

I was fortunate to get an internship with Comptroller Franchot,” Hipps noted, “and that opportunity helped me to see the legislative process close up. Today I was able to watch some of the legislative session and talk with President Schatzel, Chancellor Caret, and Senator Brochin, among others. It was a great day!” 

Several other TU students made similar observations as they eagerly waited for the traditional end-of-the-day Senate Office Building group photo: 

  • “I’d say it has been realistic,” said sophomore psychology major Sophie Bertrand.  “This was my first Tiger Pride Day and I definitely plan to be here next year.” 
  • “I didn’t have a huge expectation for what today would be like, since it’s my first Tiger Pride Day,” admitted junior communications major Peyton Moyles, a transfer student from the Air Force Academy and member of TU’s volleyball team. “The legislative session was just so fast. They’re talking about so many things at once. You have to keep up. That was unexpected.” 
  • This is my fourth and final Tiger Pride Day,” said senior Kristen Zdon. “I am definitely going to miss it. I just really like how the administration is here, one of my professors is here, and I think it’s just so awesome how the community comes together for this event.” 
  • “I was really excited to come here and make a difference, and make a difference for our campus,” junior communications major Christeen Fernando said of her first Tiger Pride Day. “It’s definitely been really interesting, I’m excited that I got to speak to some people who are directly involved with the legislation. So it definitely met my expectations. I’m excited for next year!”