WSU visits Lansing to advocate for the university and higher education
By Brianna Ellison
On March 21st, nearly 80 Wayne State University students, faculty, administrators and alumni traveled to the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing for Warrior Day 2017. Topics of discussion included state budget funding for higher education, the performance metrics used by the state of Michigan in allocating funds, and WSU’s highly ranked capital outlay project proposal, a STEM Innovation Center.
WSU participants met with their own legislators, including both their State Representative and State Senator. In a few instances, they met with a legislative staff person when their representative was not available. President M. Roy Wilson, Provost Keith Whitfield and Board of Governors members Kim Trent and Diane Dunaskiss were also in attendance and met with the State Budget Director and other influential lawmakers.
Two lawmakers, Representatives Fred Durhal (D-Detroit) and Larry Inman (R-Traverse City), spoke with the group prior to the morning meetings. In addition to hearing from guest speakers, WSU participants attended a buffet lunch in the Capitol to visit further with legislators and staff in a more informal setting. WSU attendees were also introduced on the floor of the House at the beginning of session by Rep. Fred Durhal. Stuart Baum, Chair of the WSU Student Senate Government Affairs Committee and rising WSU sophomore, found the day to be impactful. “I enjoyed being a part of Warrior Day because it gave me the opportunity to meet with my legislators and talk to them about the issues that mattered most to me as a student, while also representing Wayne State University in a positive light,” said Baum.
WSU participants met with 65 legislative offices, which is nearly half of the State’s 148 lawmakers. “I believe that my legislators valued the opportunity to listen to us all speak candidly about the important issues impacting our lives, and that they respected the dedication we showed by taking the time to meet with them in person,” said Baum. He continued, “In meeting with them, I saw how attentively my legislators absorbed the feedback I gave them, and I truly appreciated the commitment they made to addressing my concerns.”
Students, staff and faculty hailed from all 13 of WSU’s schools and colleges. Each school and college provided a unique poster which was displayed in the Capitol and gave an overview of that particular school or college.
WSU students at the Michigan State Capitol on Warrior Day 2017
Dr. Andreana Holowatyj, a researcher at Wayne State University, meets with her State Representative, Stephanie Gray Chang
Warrior Day participants attend a House session where they were introduced from the floor by Rep. Fred Durhal