Western Illinois University’s Student Government Association presented their second annual State of the Student Address on March 29.
The first speaker of the address was Student Representative of WIU Board of Trustees Wil Gradle who spoke about how students should be included in the strategic plan process in an October board meeting. He says the Strategic plan has received feedback which led to newer drafts.
Gradle said, the state of Illinois has not yet approved a budget to fully fund WIU.
He said In June 2016, the university was allocated $31.4 billion in stop gap money from the state which included funds for the university to cover Map grants for Spring 2016. It was the last funds received from the state to support Map grants.
However, the university received $8.4 million in funds allocated by the Illinois Board of Higher Education in December 2016.
Gradle said, “Springfield has not fulfilled it’s duty of providing for the future of the state by routinely cutting higher education budgets and not fully funding higher education for the pass two years.”
He said despite fiscal challenges the board is committed to providing students with an affordable education.
In addition, this fall the university had a three percent tuition reduction voted in by the Board of Trustees.
Furthermore, SGA President Dovile Svirupskaite said she is proud of the hours of dedication that has gone into strengthening the organization and the university and the Macomb community.
“During my term, my most important objectives was for the student body to recognize the important roles the city of Macomb plays in the experience of student life at Western,” Svirupskaite said.
She worked with Macomb Mayor Mike Inman establishing the Mayor’s Roundtable which discussed issues that affect the Macomb community and the WIU student body.Students were able to build relationships and address issues that have an impact on the student experience, Svirupskaite said.
Mayor Mike Inman made a commitment to continue meeting with the Mayor’s Roundtable.
“I have seen a positive impact to this student group has had in the community,” Svirupskaite said. “And I look forward to all the progress that this had made between the university and the student population.”
They have partnered with the different organizations like the Macomb Chamber of Commerce,
Along with Office of Public Safety, Macomb Police Department and law enforcement student organizations to bring up law enforcement issues.
She says making an impact in Macomb is an important issue in which they were able to make progress. In the future she wants the Macomb community to start investing in the student body.