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Community Relations Progress Reported
This "giant step" must be the sum of many smaller steps we will take as an institution and community.
In my first five months as president I've met with various stakeholders of the university, discussing many of the concepts presented initially. Some of those included student housing, dorm renovation and parking, creation of a President's Circle, enhancing the university visibility through strategic marketing and the establishment of a University/Community Council. Steps have been taken in every area. Periodically, I would like to publicly share the progress and results of some of these steps.
The first of these initiatives I would like to share is the formation of a joint, University/Community Council. I am pleased to report this group has now met several times and will continue to meet regularly. One of the items on our initial agenda was to catalogue existing partnerships between the university and the Huntsville community. Learning more about these existing partnerships is a source of great pride to me as an alumnus and as president of this fine institution.
Recently you may have heard about this year's $10,000 record setting United Fund telethon conducted by Cable Channel 7, and a team of SHSU staff members who collected more than $3,000 for the Walker County American Heart Walk.
Many student organizations participate in local service activities. One of the biggest is the annual "Bearkat Attack," coordinated by the SHSU Rotoract Club. This event involves approximately 100 Sam Houston student organizations and many Rotarians for a day of home cleanup, home repair, trash hauling, roofing, painting and related activities.
The College of Business Administration together with the Small Business Development Center routinely coordinate the involvement of management and marketing classes working with small businesses within the community. Student interns work regularly with various businesses and with such entities as city offices, the police and courts and in the city's Main Street Project office.
Projects in which the city and university work jointly are numerous. Examples include the construction of the Willow Street Expansion, street and parking lot work on and around the campus, participation in the implementation of the Huntsville Tourism Development Plan and construction of a new public fee golf course that will be built on university property and run by the city.
Local citizens are typically aware of the many public events hosted by the university, which provide fine arts entertainment and spectator sporting events for all to enjoy. Many of the city's contributions are less publicized but nonetheless appreciated. They include services like allowing the university police department to file its cases in the city's municipal court and use the city's firing ranges for training for its certified law enforcement officers. Such cooperation is a benefit to all area citizens; Huntsville is one of the safest and most secure cities anywhere.
There are many more examples of university and community partnerships and more steps, which I hope to share with you from time to time. The mutual support shared between the Sam Houston State University and Huntsville community can only further enhance the atmosphere for those who live, work and study here. This good working relationship is a solid step in the right direction.
Nancy and I would like to publicly thank the citizens of Huntsville and the members of the university community, faculty, staff, and students alike, for the warm welcome you've shown us in our first few months back on campus and in Huntsville. We look forward to continuing to renew old friendships and fostering many future relationships for the benefit of our university and our community. You have honored us with your warmth; we hope to honor you with our sincerest efforts on behalf of Sam Houston State University.
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