A Day at the West Virginia State Capitol

Written By: Chelsea Betts

Protesters lined the sidewalks outside of the West Virginia State Capitol hoping to have their voices heard. Advocates walked together down the long stretches of corridors inside the building fighting for a cause that spoke to them. Meanwhile, members of the West Virginia Legislature met inside their honorary chambers to discuss several Bills that affect not only their own families, but all residents of the “Mountain State.”

Amidst all of that chaos, our West Virginia University EcoCAR 3 team wished to speak to key influencers about the goals of the latest Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition—and that’s exactly what we did.


The meetings were set and the two-hour plus drive to Charleston began early. Myself, Faculty Advisor Andrew Nix, and Mechanical Sub-Team Lead Zach Layhew were excited about the day ahead and the potential to meet with both the Secretary of State and the Governor of West Virginia.

Once we arrived, I started to feel the nerves of such an important meeting settle deep within my stomach. I was prepared with key messages that described our plans for the vehicle and a photograph of our Chevrolet Camaro signed by the team.

First up was our meeting with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. This meeting was very special because not only is Tennant an Alumni of WVU, she is also one of just two females to hold the coveted title of the official Mountaineer Mascot. Secretary Tennant was excited to learn about how students at her alma mater were making a difference in her home state. She even placed our signed photo outside of her office doors for passersby to admire!


After spending some time with Natalie Tennant, we were ready to move on to the Governor’s suite. Outside of his door stood the American and West Virginia flags that led us into a room decorated with crystal chandeliers, plush carpeting stamped with the Governor’s seal, and polished hardwood furniture.

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Governor Tomblin was extremely pleased to learn about our team’s dedication to the EcoCAR 3 competition and found the concept of a plug-in hybrid Camaro fascinating.


Our day at the Capitol was an exciting experience and gave our team the opportunity to talk to key influencers about the importance of EcoCAR 3. We can’t wait to finish out Year Two of the competition and make the state of West Virginia proud!