Brookings/SDSU Day at the Capitol receives large turnout



 Brookings Chamber of Commerce members and individuals from the SDSU community raised their voices at the capitol during Brookings/SDSU Day Jan. 22.

Having the largest turnout for Brookings/SDSU Day with 120 attendees, students and residents of Brookings toured the capitol and held a reception to meet with state representatives to discuss their goals and concerns. Among the representatives were Congresswoman Kristi Noem, Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Executive Director of Board of Regents, Jack Warner. Topics brought up for discussion were transportation in Brookings, growth of area businesses, SDSU agricultural needs and increase in manufacturing jobs.

Those touring the capital were also able to sit in on session of the house and senate. During session, Noem spoke of what she had accomplished in Washington.

“We have fully recovered from the recession … one of the few 15 states that have,” Noem said. “We continue to have a farm bill … we have the safest food supply of any nation.” Noem also spoke of her efforts on preventing sex trafficking within South Dakota. 

When discussing bills that would affect SDSU, Warner mentioned a potential tuition freeze, which is currently moving through the legislature.

“In order to freeze tuition for in-state students … it’ll take about $4 million,” Warner said. 

Also, in regards to SDSU, is the one time funding request for a new swine unit. The unit will take approximately $2 million in state funds and $1 million in Higher Education Facilities Funds. Daugaard personally filed the bill and Warner said he feels confident that the bill will pass through legislation. 

Warner also mentioned the new football stadium, the demolishing of Alvilda Myre Sorenson Center and the Tompkins Alumni Center to expand onto the SDSU Foundation building. SDSU also intends to purchase a few properties in the near future.

Currently, in compliance with Complete College America, a non-profit that works with states to increase the number of graduating students, a task force created by Laurie Nichols is working to study SDSU’s graduation patterns, especially in Native American students. The task force is trying to decrease the number of high school and college dropouts. All six regents schools are working with CCA to help improve education in South Dakota. 

One piece of legislation that would help the task force is the Common Core. The Common Core would ensure that those entering post-secondary school would be ready for the classes and course load, rather than taking remedial courses once enrolled in post-secondary school. 

“[The] greatest attempt I have seen … clearly ready for college expectations,” Warner said on Common Core. He also mentioned that the BOR is unanimous in support of the Common Core. 

Chamber members brought different publications from Brookings and SDSU to share with the state representatives. An ice cream social featuring SDSU ice cream was held in the capitol before session began for the day.

“I feel that we were well represented,” said Students’ Association President Ben Stout. “It was great to have so many state officials to take time out of their day to come and talk to us”