It was great to see the students who turned out Friday for the Grand Opening of the fully renovated Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex. It was an excellent event, and if you have not already done so, I’d encourage you to head up to the new facility to check it out. Don’t worry – there are plenty of lounge areas if exercise isn’t your thing!
Moving forward this year, one of the biggest combined efforts of SGA’s Executive and Legislative Branches will be our annual advocacy efforts to the Kansas Legislature and City of Manhattan on behalf of higher education and K-State. Some key players in the process will be Matt Brill, SGA’s local relations director, Eric Haun, SGA’s state relations director, and Megan Walden, chair of the governmental relations committee.
In Topeka and with our state government, there is much work to do. There, we seem to be dealing with a body of elected officials who, for the most part, do not realize the value of higher education to our state’s current economy and future reality. Jake and I will work this fall and spring to do all we can, alongside K-State governmental relations director Sue Peterson and our counterparts at the others Board of Regents schools – to advocate for higher education in our state and tell the story of K-State.
Despite Friday’s exciting announcement of another record-breaking enrollment at K-State, the reality is that even more students should be able to afford K-State. Between July 1 of this summer and the first day of class this fall, an unprecedented number of students intending to attend college here were forced to change their plans after receiving their first tuition bill. This is unacceptable, and we have a responsibility to fight for the funding we deserve from the state to lessen the load on students and our families in the form of tuition.
On the local level, there are a variety of initiatives that Jake and I hope to pursue in the near future. We’re blessed with a current City Commission that recognizes the importance of a strong relationship with K-State and our student body – we’re half of the city’s population, after all. It’s a central concern of Jake and I that students who live off campus have safe places to live, in homes and apartments that aren’t crumbling. Student tenants and citizen landlords should know their rights as they enter into housing contracts and leases, and I think we can work with the City Commission to make that a reality. The same goes for busing and mass transit; the ATA Bus system that services Manhattan now is connecting students with most parts of our city, but the people of Manhattan, Kan. deserve even more accessibility.
There’s a lot of work to do, and we can’t do it without the help of the student body. Over the next few weeks, Jake and I will be promoting opportunities for everyone to get involved with these important advocacy efforts in City Hall and in Topeka!
Student Body President