Thank you so much for all of the support, energy and time you devoted to joining us for Beaver Caucus Advocacy Day. We walked the halls of the Capitol, met with legislators and staff and shared the message of prioritizing higher education and OSU projects. We helped legislators see the importance of music and the arts with the Arts and Education Complex; the continued expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus with the Student Success Center; the economic and community impact with the OSU Statewide Public Service Programs and the true benefit of an Oregon State education. Thank you for lending your time and sharing your stories to ensure that the future of Oregon State University remains healthy and strong. We look forward to working with you in the new year! Go Beavs!
The Beaver Caucus is committed to supporting Oregon State University, our world-class research institution. We do this by providing a platform to communicate directly to Oregon state policymakers who are making critical decisions impacting OSU’s future. During the 2019 legislative session we will make sure that legislators and the Governor are aware of the positive benefits that have resulted from the state’s investment in higher education, and we will work to ensure that this investment continues in 2019.
Here are some of the issues we will be advocating for during the legislative session:
1) Maintaining Operating Funds
The seven public universities have sought at least a $130 million increase in operating funds from $737 million for a total investment of $867 million. This request would ensure that tuition increases would stay below 5% per year each of the next two years. In August, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) recommended a $186 million increase in operating funds for a total of $923M. This request is obviously a significant improvement and would enable meaningful investments in student success and access while keeping tuition affordable.
2) Development of the OSU Arts and Education Complex
In April 2017, Oregon State University announced plans for a new arts and education complex. The proposal would renew, expand and enhance the existing LaSells Stewart Center in order to provide the university, the greater Corvallis community, and the entire state, a venue for music, theater, digital communications programs and the visual arts. The university is well into the process of securing $35 million in philanthropic funds and is seeking an additional $35 million in state bonds for a total investment of $70 million.
3) Continued Expansion of the OSU-Cascades Campus – Student Success Center
OSU Cascades continues to face enrollment growth and will need to continue expand its facilities to ensure that it meets the academic, counseling and extracurricular needs of students in the Central Oregon region. The university is seeking $12 million in bonds matched by $5 million in student fees – approved in a campus-wide vote – for the construction of the OSU-Cascades Student Success Center, which will improve learning outcomes while facilitating student engagement.
Gov. Kate Brown signs bill for $39 million to go toward a new academic building
Gov. Kate Brown visited Oregon State University-Cascades on Wednesday to sign a bill approving $39 million for a new academic building on the Bend campus.
The state funding, plus a $10 million match from private donors, will pay for a building for classes in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
The building is a step forward in the university’s master plan to add dozens of buildings and streets on what will become a 128-acre campus for 5,000 students.
Brown, who spoke inside Tykeson Hall before signing the bill, said the community should be proud of OSU-Cascades and how it continues to grow with state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology and, she added, “very nice dorms.”
“The vitality of the Central Oregon economy is very much dependent on our students and making sure they are prepared for the workforce of the future,” Brown said. “OSU-Cascades is making it possible for students who love this place — and there are many of them — to stay right here in this region.”
OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson and state Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, each spoke at the bill signing, along with OSU-Cascades students Melanie Widmer and Lynnea Fredrickson.
The two students described how they made trips to the state capital in Salem to support the bill.
Knopp, who has advocated for the university funding, said he was discouraged last year after the Legislature approved just $9.5 million of the $69.5 million university officials requested.
But in December, Brown called for $88 million in funding: $39 million for OSU-Cascades, $40 million for a science center at the University of Oregon and $9 million for a new field house at Eastern Oregon University.
The funding bill was passed last session in March.
“Many of you, like me, were disappointed with the outcome of the 2017 session,” Knopp told a standing-room-only crowd Wednesday. “But I got a call from the governor after the session, and she made a commitment that she would work with me and the Central Oregon delegation to get to where we needed to be.”
Before Brown signed the funding bill, she took a short tour of the campus, ending up in the dining hall, where she stopped to speak with students.
Her visits with students were short and sweet, but one encounter was especially humorous. She asked Walead Sultani, a junior studying energy systems engineering, how he liked his studies.
Sultani didn’t miss a beat.
“I cry in the shower sometimes,” he said, which drew a laugh from Brown and her entourage.
“I’m a jokester,” Sultani said afterward.
Another student, Al Alkindi, was in the middle of a multicultural club event in the dining hall when the governor walked by and sparked up a conversation.
Alkindi, who is originally from Oman, said he thought it was great that Brown came to the campus and met with students.
It was his first time meeting a governor.
“I’ve only been here in the states since 2015,” Alkindi said. “I haven’t had the chance.”
Article originally published on The Bend Bulletin
BEND, Ore. – Oregon State University’s campus in Bend is a step closer to meeting the needs of its growing student enrollment following the Oregon Legislature on Saturday approving $39 million in state-backed bonds for OSU-Cascades’ second academic building.
The facility will serve STEAM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
“We are very grateful for the support of Governor Brown, Speaker Kotek, Senator Knopp, Representative Rayfield and many legislators for the continued expansion of higher education programming in Central Oregon,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “We are also grateful to the many generous donors whose gifts of over $9 million helped match this state funding.”
“Funding for this academic building will allow us to serve our mission in Oregon, and especially in Central Oregon, where there are no other four-year university options closer than three hours,” said Ray.
The legislature approved $9.5 million in state bonding in the 2017 session in part to support site preparation of undeveloped campus property where the new academic building will be constructed.
At the time, OSU officials pledged to seek additional state funding for the building in the 2018 legislative session. Over the past months, Central Oregon community, business and economic leaders, advocates with the Beaver Caucus, and undergraduate students traveled to Salem to support funding for increasing campus capacity in what is the fastest growing region in Oregon.
“We anticipate construction to begin in summer 2019, following remediation of portions of the pumice mine and landfill that adjoin our campus,” said OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson. “This new academic building will house classrooms and laboratories and be ready for students in fall 2021.”
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Advocacy Day at the Capitol on January 11. Members of the Beaver Caucus, Now4 OSU-Cascades and the Bend Chamber appealed directly to legislators to support funding for the expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus. We are grateful to the State Treasurer, the Speaker, members of the legislative leadership and all legislators who spent time with us to learn about OSU-Cascades and the critical importance of this campus to Central Oregon and the state.
To all who participated, thank you for lending your thoughts and sharing your stories to ensure that the future of our great university remains healthy and strong. We look forward to an exciting year of advocacy on behalf of OSU.