WIU event shows lawmakers how university affects their districts
Western Illinois University (WIU) hosted Western 101 on Jan. 30 to show state legislators how the university impacts their districts.
State Sens. Neil Anderson (R-Andalusia) and Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and Reps. Randy Frese (R-Camp Point), Michael Halpin (D-Rock Island), Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) and Daniel Swanson (R-Alpha) attended the event.
"We appreciate the time our legislators took out of their busy schedules to attend 'Western 101' to learn more about our University and how Western impacts the legislators' districts," WIU President Jack Thomas said in a WIU news release. "Some of the legislators were recently elected, so this was a tremendous opportunity to become acquainted and to allow us to promote their district's public university."
The event was organized by Thomas and Western's Director of Government Relations Jeanette Malafa. The attendees heard updates on the university budget and academic programs. They also heard about the impact of the university's $473 million on the local economy.
"President Thomas and others gave detailed and comprehensive insight regarding the impact Western Illinois University has on our regional economy and the challenges the lack of a state budget presents to our students, faculty and our communities," Hammond said. "For me, knowing the information presented at the Western 101 event is of paramount importance to my job as a representative and only makes me work harder to achieve full funding for WIU."
The attendees also had the opportunity to tour the university and view its infrastructure. The deferred maintenance tour featured areas that need repair in the near future.
"Western Illinois University continues to be an important partner for our region and our state," Halpin said. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in crafting legislation that responsibly invests in our students and our higher education system."
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