Sept. 1, 2011
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications
When Eric Hill welcomes members of the Maryville College Republicans back to campus later this month, he’ll likely outline an ambitious set of goals for the student organization.
First among them – be less campus-focused and more community-focused.
“I want to incorporate the Blount County community more,” said Hill, who is beginning his second term as president of the Maryville College Republicans. “Some of the things that I plan on doing involve inviting more elected officials to speak at our meetings and working more closely with the Blount County GOP and the Blount County Young Republicans.”
His new plans are rooted in attending the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) Convention back in July. Hill, East Vice Chair of Tennessee College Republicans, was in Washington, D.C., July 29-30, during the height of debt ceiling debate.
Almost 200 college students from across the country attended the convention. Hill, a junior music education major from Maryville, Tenn., was one of only four students from Tennessee colleges and universities present. In addition to Maryville College, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Freed Hardeman University were represented.
One of the main purposes of the convention was the election of CRNC officers for the next two years, but a lot of time was allocated for speeches and presentations dealing with the current state of the country and next year’s elections.
“As everyone knows, there has been so much spending that has come out of Washington D.C. just this year alone. There were talks of how to cut spending, reduce our debt and make the U.S. a better place for business,” he said. “There were also talks about the 2012 elections – who will come out as the front runner(s), who should run and who shouldn't be running.”
Hill said the most memorable speaker was presidential candidate and former Utah governor John Huntsman Jr.
“Gov. Huntsman basically told us where he stood on some of the biggest issues and how he was going to turn the country around if elected,” the MC student said. “Another memorable speaker was presidential candidate Herman Cain. Cain spoke to us via skype but was very similar to Huntsman, telling how he would change things if elected.”
During the weekend, Hill and the Tennessee delegation visited the Capitol building for a tour and were able to get gallery passes for the Senate from the office of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and gallery passes for the House of Representatives from the office of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN7).
Hill said he deeply appreciates the senator’s and representative’s staff for their efforts that allowed him to witness something historic.
“What made it so memorable was the fact that the elected officials were debating one of the biggest issues during the Obama administration,” he said. “That was probably the highlight of the trip.”
Hill said he left the Hill energized with new contacts and new ideas. Among his plans for the College Republicans this year is a trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., scheduled for next February.
“The other officers of the Maryville College Republicans and I want to try our best to keep the Republicans and conservatives on campus in tune with the issues,” he explained. “By going to events like [these conferences], we are able to stay ahead of the curve and be stronger leaders in the end.”
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state‘s third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for its academic rigor and its focus on the liberal arts, Maryville is where students come to stretch their minds, stretch themselves and learn how to make a difference in the world. Total enrollment for the fall 2012 semester was 1,093.