I went to the state capital yesterday in Grande Dame Colleague's van, along with a couple of other colleagues and three students. There was also a huge bus of Misnomer U. folks, which filled up too quickly to get a ticket, and assorted alumni and friends from other parts of the state. All in all, we filled up both galleries of the state House of Representatives. A couple of the representatives introduced us, and Sorta-Famous Alumna sang a song. We were going to take the state Senate by storm as well, except they'd adjourned by the time we got there because a water main burst and most of the downtown area was without water, so that part was sort of anticlimactic. So we posed for a couple of photos for the press, and then went to a reception at one of the hotels, where there was also no water, but lots of Wine For Legislators, and fried catfish bits, and mini-cream puffs, and all that sort of thing. So I had some wine and catfish, and tried to talk to legislators (I wasn't very good at it -- politics is not a game for introverts), and then we drove back, getting home at around 10:00 or so. Which wouldn't have been bad, ordinarily, but on top of the first day of classes it was a bit exhausting.
The Capitol building was nice: lots of swoopy art-nouveauish railings and Tiffany glass. I don't think I'd actually been inside a state legislature building since my Girl Scout troop's trip to Richmond when I was ten, so it was interesting getting to see it.
I'm not sure I feel like I contributed all that much, but I'm told that we made a pretty impressive showing through sheer numbers, and the important thing is to show the legislators that they have lots and lots of constituents who care about the university's future.
It's frustrating, though: apparently all kinds of daft public-university-related bills have been introduced this session, some of which have no chance of passing and no apparent purpose except to vent hostility against higher education in general, but at least one of which has me seriously worried.
Anyway, back to business as usual, at least until the next crisis. The classes seem OK, so far; I have a fair number of repeat students in Brit Lit II and Shakespeare, and the general temperature in both classes seemed pretty good. I don't know yet what to expect from either section of comp (one Basic, one regular English 101 but filled mostly with people who started in Basic or else failed it last semester). I hope neither of them is too dire.