by Tim Burkhardt, staff writer
Mid-November, Dean of Work Ian Robertson and the three Student Caucus Co-Conveners, Felicia Hall, Maggie-Mae Farthing, and Ben Surface traveled to Washington DC to attend the annual Work College Conference. The conference was attended by all seven of the nation’s work colleges, and the focus of the conference was on leadership at institutions and leadership in the nation.
Presenters from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and two representatives from Ardent Fox (a lobbyist group for work college) spoke about what lobbyists do in Washington DC. There was also a presentation from Patricia Evans from the Mayor’s office. She spoke about a program called “Serve DC,” an organization that helps feed the hungry in the city. Serve DC arranged service work at the Capitol Area Food Bank for the faculty members and students for all the work college attendees.
Robertson and the Caucus co-conveners met with three representatives from North Carolina: two senators and one congressman.
“The caucus co-conveners spoke with these members of the legislative branch of government in order to let leaders in Washington know what work colleges stand for, and why they should continue to receive federal funds as work colleges,” Robertson said. “The students were just superb in describing their education here and what was important about it. They were very articulate in describing the value of work college education.”
Robertson, Hall, Farthing, and Surface also got to tour the East Wing of the White House while they were in Washington D.C. By chance, they got to see President Obama come out and get on to a helicopter as he headed to New York City to witness the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.