Feb. 17, 2010
35 students, president make trek to capitol to gain legislative support
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State made its case on Tuesday, visiting the capitol building in Jefferson City and engaging legislators during the University's annual Legislative Reception.
About 35 students boarded a bus at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday to make the trip. President Dr. John Jasinski, Vice President of Marketing and University Relations Dr. Tim McMahon, and Dean of Students Dr. Matt Baker also attended.
The objective of the legislative reception is for students to lobby for Northwest and get a taste of the legislative process. Throughout the day, the students divided into groups and visited the offices of state representatives and senators. The students talked with lawmakers and aids, emphasizing Northwest's innovative programs, strong academics, increasing enrollment and successful athletic teams, among other accomplishments.
"All of our participants have had a really great time meeting representatives and senators from across the state," Northwest Student Senate President Erin Holm said. "We really had a great time getting Northwest's name out there and making our presence known."
Added Baker, "We're here to let the legislators know our attributes and keep Northwest on their minds during these tough economic times."
Additionally, the Northwest contingent - including Northwest mascot Bobby Bearcat, who dressed in his own business attire for the day - were introduced on the house floor Tuesday morning by state Rep. Mike Thomson. The group also hosted a taco lunch in the rotunda for all capitol employees and visitors.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jasinski appeared in front of the Missouri House Appropriations Committee to address concerns about proposed budget cuts and the University's plans for increasing efficiency.
Jasinski told the committee that Northwest recognizes the current economic state, and staff are working proactively and aggressively to address the economic conditions.
"We are dealing with reality, drawing on our proven strength and executing," Jasinski said.
The president noted Northwest has increased its reserve funds to more than 4 percent and realized about a half million dollars from salary savings by delaying or freezing hiring, consolidating positions and reconceptualizing operations. The University also is saving more than $500,000 through voluntary budget reductions.
Jasinski credited the University's five-year growth plan, which has helped increase revenue, as well as high retention rates that are better than the national average. He noted Northwest's electronic textbooks program, the success of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the use of alternative fuels - which have saved taxpayers $12.5 million.
"Northwest Missouri State's proven strength is innovation," Jasinski said. "It is in our DNA at Northwest. We have a record of innovating. Moreover, we have developed the organizational competence to create innovation."
Jasinski explained to the committee that Northwest is dealing with the realities of the economic downturn but voiced confidence that the University is positioned to meet current and future budget challenges.
"Make no mistake, we will continue to mine every dollar that is not productive, and question every process, program and person that is not serving our purpose," Jasinski told the committee. "But we want you to know that our mission is to deliver on our heritage of innovation to address the uncertain economic times before us."
For the complete text of Jasinski's comments to the Missouri House Appropriations Committee, go to http://www.nwmissouri.edu/media/pdf/2010_0216_House_Appr.pdf.
For more information, please contact:
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
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