Portland State University President Wim Wiewel led a delegation of 140 students, faculty, staff and alumni to the Oregon Capitol in Salem on Feb. 8 to talk to legislators about the importance of the University to the state.
At the annual PSU Day at the Capitol, supporters met with 47 legislators to discuss the University's priorities, such as minimizing tuition increases and protecting Oregon Opportunity Grants for low-income students, and other issues in higher education.
Pictured: State Sen. Chip Shields (left) meets with alumnus Al Fitzpatrick (right) and other PSU supporters during PSU Day at the Capitol.
Legislators were receptive to the strong show of support for PSU seen everywhere in the Capitol, from the Portland State Chamber Choir performing in the rotunda to students being recognized on the Senate floor.
"I think the most important thing about a day like this is for legislators to see how many people are enthused about Portland State, support Portland State, and want to make sure Portland State is treated right," said Wiewel. "That general picture is even more important than any particular political point that we are trying to make."
PSU supporters gave away Voodoo doughnuts with green icing in the morning and cupcakes in the afternoon. The New Avenues for Youth program for homeless and at-risk youth, which runs a Ben & Jerry's PartnerShop on campus, also handed out ice cream in the legislative offices.
The delegation also talked to legislators about the proposed Oregon Sustainability Center, a project that would highlight Oregon's position as the emerging leader in sustainable building technologies, create jobs for Oregon companies and provide much-needed research and classroom space for PSU. In addition, they discussed HB 4061, a bill that would create institutional governing boards for PSU and other state universities that want them.
Students are planning to advocate for more state support for higher education at a rally on Feb. 21 in the Park Blocks and at the State Capitol.