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WVU course connects graduate students with public advocacy during West Virginia Legislative Session

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Graduate students at West Virginia University enrolled in a public advocacy course have spent the semester traveling between Morgantown and Charleston, half of them advocating for legislation that would increase access to medical marijuana and industrial and agricultural hemp, and the other half lobbying for the implementation of a state bank which would increase access to loans for small businesses and farmers.


“My most valuable thing that I’ve learned is that anyone can participate in advocating for policies, and I feel that people should be more involved in their government.” —Rae Manning, Graduate Student

“A lot of times, students really only know the bare basics of what the policy process looks like, of how a bill becomes a law and all that reference to Schoolhouse Rock; but (I was) able to work within it, with that process, and to understand how our state functions, understand the committee process and understand the actual actors and players involved with pushing something through, or blocking certain legislation.” —Lonnie Long, Graduate Student

“We can agree on what we’re doing as a source of opportunity for the state. I think going back, that we all do care about our state and we do see these avenues as something that we do all agree on and that compromise is possible. In an ever-polarizing society when it comes to government, it can sometimes be hard to agree on policy, but I think returning to some of the root issues that we do want to create change and we see a sense of humanity in what we’re doing and it’s what has allowed us to be successful.” —Jack Swiney, Graduate Student

“If we can get young people, who are the future of the state, really engaged and conversational with their legislators, with their representatives, then there’s a much better chance of getting more positive movement done here and making West Virginia more competitive with the rest of the country.” —Karen Kunz, Associate Professor of Public Administration

Targeted Audience:

  • Policy makers
  • Lobbyists
  • Prospective college students
  • Medical practitioners and researchers
  • Patients
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Farmers




Karen Kunz, Associate Professor of Public Administration


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