UMES asking for more funding from the government
MARYLAND – As the Maryland General Assembly session winds down, HBCUs across Maryland are calling on lawmakers to increase project funding.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is trying to get its ag building off the ground and this funding could make or break its opening. Lawmakers say it’s funding that UMES deserves. “After decades of being under-supported and under-invested in, it is only appropriate that we not only see the historic funding that we were able to recoup a few years ago, through the settlement bill but also to see more collaboration across the system,” says Delegate Stephanie Smith.
A major project at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore could expire if the school doesn’t get more state funding. “For a new building and a new request that we’re asking for and that is our agriculture research education complex. We’re asking for 17 million dollars from the state because we have already raised almost 14 million from the federal government through the USDA,” says UMES President, Dr. Heidi Anderson.
She says this mission is bigger than the university. “It will help us continue to do the teaching and the research for the local farmers. It will also be a benefit to businesses on the shore, like Purdue and Mountaire and it will have a space in there for not only research that we’re going to be doing but also for a hydroponic greenhouse,” she adds.
Delegate Stephanie Smith, the Chair of Maryland’s Black Caucus Education Committee says this funding is long overdue with the hopes that it would push HBCUs forward. “They are anchor institutions in the communities in which they reside and so the investments that we make in these institutions from a capital perspective can basically be leverage for other redevelopment opportunities,” says Delegate Smith.
Dr. Anderson’s message to lawmakers is don’t ignore the shore, because UMES is creating the leaders of tomorrow. “Please don’t forget us, not only do we have an extremely talented group of students, and my expert faculty and staff here, but we produce a number of students of color who go out in teaching, and health professions, we work with agriculture and our scientists and researchers to solve those problems here on the shore,” she says.
Dr. Anderson hopes the funding is supported and if it isn’t, the university will keep reaching out to alumni and private organizations to bring their ag building to life. Dr. Anderson adds the new ag building could help with specific issues like poultry litter management and crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland General Assembly Session ends April 10th.
UMES expects to hear back about the funding shortly after that.