Higher Ed Day 24

Feb 29, 2024

Lauren Bullard

OPSU Advocates for Higher Education at the Oklahoma Capitol

Students and staff members from Oklahoma Panhandle State University recently attended Higher Education Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol, a significant event dedicated to advocating for the importance of higher education in the state. This event provided an essential platform for OPSU representatives to articulate their perspectives, showcase the university’s accomplishments, and seek support from policymakers.

At Higher Education Day, representatives from OPSU, including students, staff, and administrators, joined counterparts from various institutions across the state to engage with legislators and address key issues affecting higher education in Oklahoma. Topics of discussion ranged from funding challenges to workforce development initiatives aimed at enhancing the state’s higher education landscape.

Dean of Student Affairs Laura Hutchinson remarked on how beneficial events like this are for students. “It was a pleasure to take a diverse group of student leaders to Higher Ed Day. They were engaged by our state representatives and senators and learned about the process of how decisions get made in our state form of government. They were able to hear from several speakers, including the governor and our Chancellor of Higher Education, about the future of education in Oklahoma. I know the students found that inspiring.”

OPSU student Stephanie Awadje remarked on how the event inspired her to strive for excellence and never settle for mediocrity. “One of my takeaways from Higher Ed Day was the impactful message shared by Dante Specht, one of the college student speakers. He said, ‘If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table.’ He also reminded us that ‘the tassel is worth the hassle.'”

A central focus of OPSU’s advocacy efforts was the crucial need for adequate funding for public universities like OPSU. Sufficient funding enables institutions to invest in academic programs, facilities, and student services. OPSU representatives emphasized the necessity of sustained and predictable funding to ensure the university’s ability to provide affordable and accessible education to students in the Panhandle region.

Furthermore, OPSU identified its pivotal role in workforce development and preparing students for success in today’s competitive job market. Through innovative programs, experiential learning opportunities, and partnerships with industry leaders, OPSU equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in their chosen fields. By prioritizing higher education funding, policymakers can help bridge the skills gap and foster economic growth in Oklahoma.

OPSU’s presence at Higher Education Day exemplified the University’s dedication to advocating for policies supporting students, faculty, and the broader higher education community in Oklahoma. As Oklahoma continues to navigate the evolving landscape of higher education, events like Higher Education Day serve as critical platforms for dialogue, collaboration, and advocacy. Through continued engagement and support, stakeholders can work together to ensure that higher education remains accessible, affordable, and impactful for students and communities across the state.

University President Dr. Jule Dinger expressed her pride and appreciation for the students’ active involvement in advocating for higher education. “It was a great day for OPSU at the Capitol,” Dr. Dinger remarked, “I was so proud of our students stepping up as advocates for higher education.”

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