SUU Day on the Hill - Week Three of the Utah Legislative SessionFebruary 12, 20193 min read
For the past five years, we have promoted an SUU Day on the Hill. This is an opportunity to provide marketing exposure for Southern Utah University which, being off the Wasatch Front, can be sometimes overlooked. The process for securing the date is on a first-come-first-served basis, so the date is different every year. I strive for a date during the first three weeks of the session while the appropriations meetings are taking place.
This year, we landed Valentines Day! Our theme is Love SUU, which may not be wildly creative, but gave us a chance to explore the 5 top reasons for the Utah Legislature to better appreciate some of the things happening at SUU:
- Southern Utah University has implemented a revolutionary dual-enrollment program with Southwest Tech. Students enrolled at STECH automatically receive university credit for all courses taken at the Tech.
- SUU has the greatest need for new buildings. SUU has the least square per student and the highest space utilization rate. And the need is growing. SUU has led the system in student enrollment growth over the past four years. Annualized budget-related FTE grew at SUU by 21%.
- This year SUU achieved its highest ever graduation rate, with retention up 11% over the last three years.
- From Best of State to Best in the West, SUU annually receives national recognition for quality, value and innovation. Some recognition includes Best Colleges and America’s Best Value from Princeton Review, Best in the West from US News and World Report, America’s 100 Best College Buys from Institutional Research & Evaluation, Inc. suu.edu/general/accolades.html
- SUU is seeking funding for a pilot 3-Year Bachelor’s Degree program. This program promises to increase building utilization, and overall campus efficiencies, while helping students graduate and move on to their careers more quickly.
SUU President Wyatt plays an active role in this day. He directs our topic as it relates to our goals for the session. So, our conversation hearts were designed to showcase how innovation leads to graduation. BTW, hearts say LOVE SUU, GRADUATE ME, INNOV8.
The BEST part of our SUU Day on Hill tradition is having students join us for a Capitol Hill experience. The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service coordinates the student travel for the overnight trip, and MPA students living in the Salt Lake area join us as well. We expect more than 40 students to be with us on Thursday.
Due to the great work of the Leavitt Center to engage student voters, we will attend a breakfast hosted by the Lieutenant Governor, Spencer Cox, to receive the Campus Cup. Following that event, students will attend committee meetings, observe the House and Senate during floor time, participate in an open forum lunch with President Wyatt, then move to the Rotunda to greet elected officials during our 3-5:30 p.m. event time. Elected officials love meeting with students to learn about their educational experiences and plans after graduation. Refreshments will be served and a gift, in the form of a rose, will be given to each legislator.
It is such a privilege to do this work and to have Alexandra White as my intern for the session. With her fabulous assistance and that of Sara Greener and Nate Christian of the SUU Advancement team, this SUU Day on the Hill will be both memorable and wildly effective.
Donna Law Executive Director of Development and Government Relations
Specializing in legislative and regulatory policy, arts and non-profit management, and fund-raising in higher education