TU students experience Annapolis at 20th Tiger Pride Day

By Sean Welsh on February 27, 2019

More than 100 Towson University students visited the General Assembly in Annapolis on Wednesday for Tiger Pride Day.

TU's contingent at Tiger Pride Day 2019

The State Capital became “Towson University South” on Wednesday as nearly 200 students, faculty, staff and alumni visited the General Assembly in Annapolis for Tiger Pride Day.

The event — led by the TU Student Government Association and supported by TU faculty and staff — offers students opportunities to meet with legislators and experience first-hand some of the inner workings of the legislative session in Annapolis.

Wednesday's event marked the 20th annual Tiger Pride Day.

“It just gets better and better and better,” TU President Kim Schatzel told those gathered during a mid-event luncheon. “This is also an important part of your education, as a citizen of the state of Maryland.”

Because Towson University is a state school, education and funding bills before the Maryland General Assembly and its committees often have a direct effect on its students. The same is true for funding bills that help TU build or expand campus facilities. 

On Tuesday, students focused on legislation outlined by the SGA as priority bills for Towson University students, alums and prospective students.

“We are lobbying for bills that can influence students while they’re in school and after they graduate,” Towson University SGA President Russhell Ford said.

Ford noted that more than 80 percent of TU students are from Maryland, and an equal percentage of TU alums will reside in the state, contributing to local communities and economies.

“It is safe to say that TU has truly evolved and continues to be a powerhouse for the state of Maryland, and this advancement isn’t stopping anytime soon,” Ford said.

During the luncheon, Ford met with a former TU SGA member — current State Senator Sarah Elfreth, who is one of a dozen TU alums in office during the session. Elfreth, who posed with Ford in a photo during her visit with the TU contingent, shared that she was involved in Tiger Pride Day as a student.

“I helped organize the 10th Tiger Pride Day,” Elfreth said. “Now I'm in the Senate.”

More than two dozen alums joined those in faculty and staff that assisted students with the event.

Students — who took buses from both from the Towson University campus and the Towson University Northeast campus in Harford County — arrived in Annapolis mid-morning after some heavy traffic. They then observed some legislative activity in the State House, before having opportunities to meet with legislators in small group meetings and in a luncheon setting in the Senate Office Building.

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Beza Tenna, the SGA's director of communications, said Wednesday she was attending her second Tiger Pride Day.

“I know where to go and how to approach legislators,” Tenna said. “My favorite part is meeting people outside the SGA, and learning what they care about.”

TU students and staff from TU's Office of Sustainability also worked to ensure Wednesday's gathering was a zero-waste event.

President Schatzel told students that the legislators enjoy Tiger Pride Day because it affords them an opportunity to meet with students from their districts.

Tenna echoed that sentiment from the opposite side, saying she had the opportunity to meet with staff from two of her area's elected officials.

“We are pushing for more opportunities for Maryland,” Tenna said of the students' actions Wednesday. “There’s more emphasis on what students can do to improve things, not only our institution, but for Maryland.”

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.