Working with and receiving support from Valley City community leaders

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Greetings from Valley City State University!As I write this column, the warmer temps are lifting the spirits of many. In fact, as soon as the temperature reached the mid-30s, it became common to see students walking across campus without coats and, in some cases, attire that most would think is more suited for summer! Spring activities continue to populate the calendar and daily life of campus, and from now until the end of the school year, students will be focused on completing the semester successfully while enjoying the warmer temps and longer days.On Monday, March 18, I was honored and proud to represent VCSU in our budget presentation to the Senate Appropriations Committee in Bismarck. Just as it was with our House Appropriations testimony in mid-January, we received outstanding support from the Valley City community and region. This tremendous community backing sets VCSU apart and truly exemplifies the high level of mutual support and collaboration. In Bismarck, I was joined by Dave Carlsrud, mayor of Valley City; Jennifer Feist, director of the Valley City–Barnes County Economic Development Corporation; Phil Mueller, alumnus, VCSU Foundation Board member and former District 24 state representative; Mary Lee Nielsen, alumna, former mayor, and director of the Valley City Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Ken Reid, Valley City businessperson and member of the City of Valley City visitors committee. Also accompanying us were seven student representatives from VCSU Student Senate and four members of the President’s Cabinet and faculty. The senators serving on the Appropriations Committee were kind and welcoming to the VCSU contingent, and we shared with them our sincere thanks for their service and support of North Dakota higher education and VCSU.In addition to the collaboration with our legislative efforts, I enjoy community support in the form of a monthly leadership team meeting that includes Mayor Carlsrud; Josh Johnson, superintendent of Valley City Public Schools; and Bill Carlblom, Barnes County commissioner. We discuss common issues and strategize on how we can work together synergistically. I value these meeting highly and appreciate the opportunity for gathering input and advice as we collectively problem-solve for the benefit of the university, the city, the school district, and county.I have sincerely enjoyed meeting and getting to know our community leaders here in Valley City and much appreciate their assistance here and in Bismarck. The important work these folks do to help make VCSU and our city, region and state moving forward becomes clearer to me each day.Go Vikings!