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Students push for legislative support at Higher Education Day event

Office of Communications & Marketing | Northeastern State University
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Urging legislative support for higher education, students and administrators from Northeastern State University participated with other state colleges and universities in a day of discourse with Oklahoma lawmakers.
The annual Higher Education Day was held Feb. 12 at the capitol building in Oklahoma City. Students of NSU's President's Leadership Class (PLC) and the Northeastern Student Government Association from the Tahlequah and Broken Arrow campuses took part.
"Higher Ed Day at the capital provides an opportunity to showcase the great things happening at Northeastern State University," said NSU President Steve Turner. "It has been my experience that the most effective way to get the NSU story out to elected officials is to have it told by articulate student leaders."
NSU students were led through the capitol building by university officials. Faculty and administration making the trip included Turner; Dr. Laura Boren, vice president of student affairs; Jerry Cook, interim executive director of university relations; Provost William Rugg; David Koehn, vice president of business and finance; Kin Thompson, PLC faculty adviser; Dr. Ron Cambiano, assistant professor of educational foundation leadership; and Dr. Tim McElroy, dean of NSU-Muskogee. 
"The teams spent the day going to the offices of 55 House and Senate members whose districts overlap with our 23 county service area," Turner said. "The elected officials appreciate hearing from those persons most impacted by legislation and budgeting processes for higher education."
Students can make an impression on lawmakers through direct face-to-face communication, Thompson said.
"They put a face on the regional universities," he said. "Most NSU students are from Oklahoma and most stay in Oklahoma after they graduate. They can make the case that if lawmakers wish to invest in Oklahoma, they should invest in regional universities."
Thompson said there are further benefits for students when participating in Higher Education Day.
"I think it is a great opportunity for the students to practice their networking skills and gain insight into the workings of the state capital," he said. "I so enjoy them getting to see that President Turner is well-connected. He knows everyone. Our students see that and recognize the importance of multiple avenues of communication."
Northeastern has no greater ambassadors than its students, Turner said.
"The lawmakers were impressed by the intelligence, poise and candor of our students," he said. "The day was successful, because for a short time everyone could focus on the most important part of higher education – the students."
Higher Education Day is hosted by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. All state colleges and universities are invited to attend. Students, administrators and staff meet with representatives and senators to discuss issues facing higher education. Students also tell of their academic accomplishments and career goals.

Published: 2/20/2013 1:59:58 PM

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