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Take Action Today and Support UMD

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Take Action Today and Support UMD

When it comes to advocating for what matters most, our UMD alumni can be very persuasive. We’re tens of thousands strong, in every corner of Minnesota, and in every state across the country. Our alumni have important stories to tell. We invite you to share your story and voice your support at two important upcoming events: the legislative briefing on February 12, and Duluth and St. Louis County Days at the Capitol on March 12–13, 2014.

As part of the legislative briefing for 2014, the University of Minnesota maintains a list of capital investment projects. These projects are approved by the Board of Regents and include requests for funding from the state legislature. These building and infrastructure projects align with the strategic goals of the University to recruit and retain the best and brightest students; to recruit and support innovative and world class faculty and staff; and to inspire innovation, exploration, and discovery, all while being responsible stewards of all resources.

Capital Investment for UMD
There are six different projects the Board of Regents is requesting to be funded by the state during the the 2014 legislative session, and UMD’s Chemical Sciences and Advanced Materials Building is among them.

This new facility is needed to meet the research and undergraduate instruction needs of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering on Duluth’s campus. In addition to chemistry and biochemistry instructional laboratories and space for research on environmental remediation and energy production and storage, the building will include sorely needed active-learning classrooms.

It’s UMD’s goal to strengthen local and regional industries by providing research partnerships and a prepared workforce, but as it stands now, UMD’s facilities cannot meet these needs.

In 2012, 150 qualified STEM degree applicants were denied admissions due to a lack of laboratory and learning space. Currently, over 1,000 students take chemistry classes each week. Undergraduate majors in chemistry and biochemistry increased by 39% between 2008 and 2012. Graduate majors increased by 36%.

The new space will allow for a new advanced materials science and engineering program, which will increase enrollment by 250 undergraduate students and 50 graduate students by 2018. New laboratories will also allow more students to participate in research, which is a hallmark experience of UMD’s science and engineering programs.

The addition of a new building on campus will not only benefit UMD and its students, but would also reap a community partnership for years to come. The new facility will foster programs with direct benefits to Minnesota’s industries through initiatives in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, energy, environmental science, mineral processing, computation, and materials development.

Along with the addition of new science building, current campus buildings need major renovation. Heller Hall and Cina Hall are priority projects for UMD. Their capital needs are being requested through Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funding. HEAPR funds allow UMD to preserve historic architecture, and also reduces operating costs as full building renovations typically costs ¾ the price of a new building.

What Can You Do?
When you were a student, maybe a professor encouraged your interests that eventually became a passion or a career. Was there an opportunity to take part in hands-on research to expand your learning? Perhaps fellow students opened the door to a world of possibilities. Either way, be sure and attend these events in the Twin Cities. Your actions today could lead to inspiring students in the future and their personal success. It’s a great way to say thank you to a university that encouraged you when you were a student.

One of the most significant ways to educate others and influence political leaders is to write a letter. The opinion page is a widely read section of any newspaper, and letters to the editor are often saved by elected officials. These letters indicate to opinion leaders the topics and direction of issues that are on the public’s mind.

As UMD alumni, your stories are a powerful way to bring life and support to UMD. Feel free to mention to the board the importance of our university and be sure to talk about your personal connection as well.

Visit this page, and submit a letter to the editor by following the links to publications from around the state of Minnesota.

Don’t stop at writing a letter just to the editor. Continue to express your concern by contacting your senator and ask him or her to fully support the University of Minnesota Duluth’s capital request.