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SMC students travel to Washington conference

Angela Saoud | Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Sixteen of Professor Claude Renshaw’s students went to Washington D.C. last Wednesday for a five-day trip highlighted by the Annual Tax Conference and sponsored by the Tax Foundation. “The conference gave the students the opportunity to see how taxes work,” Renshaw said. “It allowed them to see what we have learned in class put into action.”The conference focused on presentations from representatives in various branches of the government, and included Treasury Secretary John Snow. “It was really exciting to see the students getting into it,” Renshaw said. “I think they got a lot out of it, and it was a reinforcement of applications I had talked about in class.” Saint Mary’s students has been invited previously to this conference, but this trip marked the first time they were able to attend.Through funding from the Center for Women’s InterCultural Leadership, Saint Mary’s Board of Governance, the Tax Foundation and independent fundraisers, the trip cost each student less than $200.”When I estimated the original budget, it was supposed to be hundreds of dollars to attend,” Renshaw said. “But this was a really energetic group. They wrote up grants for BOG and CWIL themselves and set up the fundraisers on their own. I think that really said something about this group.”In addition to attending the conference, the group also took tours of the U.S. Treasury building, the Capitol building and the White House and met with Saint Mary’s alumnae who live in Washington, D.C. “It was great to meet with the alumnae,” said junior Michelle Cooper. “It was nice to be able to discuss with them what they are now doing with their Saint Mary’s degrees.” During free time, the students, along with Renshaw and his wife, Mary, went on a walking tour of the monuments and attended a play. To fundraise, students put up signs around campus to rent themselves out as accountants. “For $10 professors or students could rent a student to do odd jobs like balance checkbooks or do yard work,” junior Tricia Michalak said. “The fundraiser helped out in addition to the grants we had already received.”Overall, the students said the conference was beneficial to their futures. “I was able to learn more about politics, tax policy and procedures,” junior Risa Zander said. “Tax policies affect our lives more than we think, and now I feel like I know quite a bit more.”