Students show positives amidst trying times
March 10, 2011
The last several weeks have been particularly difficult for our university. The tumult began Feb.11 when the budget repair bill was announced by Gov. Scott Walker. Although the bill is still stalled in the senate because 14 democratic senators fled the state, the senate rushed through a collective bargaining bill Wednesday night. The bill strips public employees of their collective bargaining rights and increases employee payments in pension and health benefits. The tension and apprehension surrounding the state budget issues has caused several UWRF faculty and staff to consider an early retirement.
On March 1, Gov. Walker announced the 2011-13 biennial budget, bringing a further blow to the university. State funding for the UW System shriveled, forcing the administration to operate on an 11 percent budget reduction.
Even though the university is facing adversities financially, the campus community should resist the temptation to remain fixated on the negative and focus instead on the positive things our students are doing.
The scholarly achievements of UWRF students are astounding. This year 85 students are traveling to New York to present at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research at Ithaca College. UWRF is the third largest group of presenters attending the national conference. Students are also involved with non-profit organizations such as Ever After Gowns that provide young women with formal wear, based on financial need, for their high school prom.
The humanitarian pursuits of UWRF students are equally impressive. Over spring break, 40 students will be going to Denver Colo., to clean up a city park through the national non-profit organization, Students Today Leaders Forever. There are also four destination trips planned over spring break. 50 students will go to five different locations across the country to help with rural poverty, disaster relief and other social issues.
We need to remember that a university is a unique institution. By its nature and mission, UWRF is positive. Within the brick and mortar, ideas and knowledge abound, empowering students to think beyond the confines of convention. Outside of the classrooms, knowledge seeps out and travels wherever a student roams. It remains like a capsule, embedded within each student forever, and will remain a vestige of the great university that is UWRF.
Hopefully, after thinking about the positive pursuits and achievements our students are accomplishing, the negative feelings about the current situation facing the university will be eradicated. If you still feel a tinge on anger, worry, or any of those feelings that make the sky seem gray, think about spring break and the approaching warmer weather.