Students, faculty and alumni from all four of the University of Nebraska campuses gathered at the State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 10 to attend the third annual “I Love NU Day.”
More than 200 supporters met at the Capitol to speak with state senators from the Nebraska Unicameral and share their higher education experiences.
NU President Ted Carter spoke with supporters before meeting legislators.
“From my perspective, ‘I Love NU Day’ is every day,” Carter said. “But today, March 10, 2020 is a special day for us.”
Along with Carter, UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green and UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen attended the day of advocacy. UNO and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold was not able to attend, but for good reason. Gold was in Washington, D.C. briefing Vice President Mike Pence on the latest steps taken to fight COVID-19.
“This is just an example of how much we, as the University of Nebraska system, are at the epicenter of everything, not just across the United States, but globally,” Carter said.
Nicole Kent, UNK student regent and student body president, said she believes that the state needs to continue to strongly support the university.
“Our university system puts a lot back into the state in terms of economic growth, but also in terms of educating the youth of our state and giving us brighter futures,” Kent said.
Kent, who graduates in May 2020, hopes to set up a successful future for those who come after her.
“I’m going to be gone in a short time, but there are going to be a lot of students in the university in the next five, 10, 100 years and I really think it’s important to have a strong relationship with the state,” Kent said.
Scholarships provide opportunities for many students to attend higher education, which is the case for many students like UNL’s Taylor Jarvis.
“I would say I would not have chosen to attend UNL unless I had gotten my scholarship and would’ve then contributed to the ‘brain drain’ because I would’ve gone out of state,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis, a senator in UNL’s student government, also serves as a student lobbyist as a part of the NU Student Alliance network.
“It’s my responsibility to be here and advocate on behalf of the university system,” he said.
Through the program, the Alliance has the opportunity to voice a student perspective on official NU priority legislation by building connections with state senators through events like “I Love NU Day.”
Scholarships also provide opportunities for students to come to Nebraska. Kyle Cacciatore, an out-of-state student from UNL came to show support for his temporary home.
“Nebraska’s shown me some love, so I’m showing it back for the whole university system,” Cacciatore said.