Emory & Henry College students were recently given a behind the scenes look at the Virginia General Assembly and the opportunity to lobby for their own public policy.
The students are members of an Advocacy and Lobbying class taught by Emory & Henry Alumnus Beau Blevins, who is a lobbyist for the Virginia Association of Counties. The class studied format and function of both Virginia’s statewide and local governments, with a focus on the Virginia General Assembly.
Each student in the class researched and worked to address a particular public policy issue of their choice. One of the proposed legislations was a bill that would reform the health curriculum of public high schools by requiring hands-only CPR to be taught to all freshmen students before graduation.
In January, the class traveled to Richmond and had the opportunity to sit in on a General Assembly committee. This allowed students to see policy development in action and connect it with what they learned in class discussions. The students also met privately with the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, as well as other members of the state legislature to advocate for their public policy proposals. The class ended their trip by touring the Virginia Capitol building.
First-year student, Rachel Smoot said, “The trip was a wonderful experience that helped to shed light on what my future career aspirations may hold. The trip also further reinforced that I made the right decision in choosing Emory & Henry. The college has provided me with so many fascinating opportunities—things I never would have imagined experiencing as a freshman. Students sometimes get drowned out at large colleges and universities, but Emory & Henry hears the individual voices and helps each of them to flourish."
Story By: Katherine Meyers ’19