Student activism has long been a hallmark of the college experience and the Old Dominion University student body, dating back to the earliest days of the school, has been engaged and passionate about their support and advocacy for their alma mater.Students are the heart and soul of this institution, and we are dedicated to providing you access to a quality, affordable and successful academic experience.With the General Assembly session now underway in Richmond, it seems prudent to keep ODU’s most dedicated advocates apprised of the university’s legislative priorities.In December, Governor Robert McDonnell announced his amendments to the 2012-14 biennial budget, which included an additional $5.3 million in base funding for Old Dominion over the nearly $18 million approved by the governor and General Assembly for the biennium last April.Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly have been incredibly supportive of Old Dominion and its commitment to continued affordability and accessibility. I am thankful for all they have done, and continue to do, to make not only Old Dominion, but the state’s entire higher education system, one of the best in the country, bar none.Yet now is not the time for this university to rest on its laurels. ODU is on an upward trajectory that is unparalleled in its history and continued support is critical. Old Dominion’s General Fund shortfall remains at $43 million and the university is funded at only 85 percent of the state’s funding calculation, the very lowest among Virginia public higher education institutions.Approximately 88 percent of our fall 2012 enrollment is comprised of in-state students. Since 2004, ODU has added more in-state students than any of the other public university and has added the third largest number of in-state students over the past decade.Paradoxically, due to state budget cuts sustained over five consecutive years, General Fund support for these additional in-state students has significantly decreased, resulting in ODU receiving the smallest percentage of funding among all of the state’s colleges and universities.