Hawkeye Caucus Day in Des Moines
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Teachers who want to enhance education in the sciences or arts. Local governments looking to expand their economies. Businesses seeking top-notch employees.
When Iowa communities identify a need, they have a ready partner in the University of Iowa. That’s the message of Hawkeye Caucus Day, April 2 at the State Capitol in Des Moines.
Take iExploreSTEM, a project co-produced by the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council with the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa and the health and human physiology department in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Additional support comes from the UI College of Education and the UI College of Engineering. The program will help Iowa communities develop 10-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) festivals this year, emphasizing local challenges and opportunities.
The local focus is key. The UI program’s emphasis on coalition building helped it win support from the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in 2012.
iExploreSTEM is among more than 30 initiatives showcased at the capitol today. UI students, leaders, alumni, and friends join representatives from the university’s 11 colleges and various programs to meet legislators and highlight how the UI impacts communities in every corner of Iowa.
Posters, displays, and interactive activities surround a giant inflatable Herky—the UI mascot—in the historic capitol’s rotunda. Meanwhile, approximately 100 students connect with legislators to talk about their UI experience and hometown ties.
Want to see exactly how the University of Iowa connects with every Iowa county and legislative district? Visit the new UI outreach website at outreach.uiowa.edu for stats on alumni, students, health care, expenditures, and more.
“Today is all about the university’s connections across the state,” says Sally Mason, University of Iowa president. “We are committed to keeping Iowa strong.”
Launched in 2011, the annual Des Moines event is one initiative from the Hawkeye Caucus, a grassroots outreach project that aims to inform Iowans about how the university helps make the state smarter, healthier, more livable, and more prosperous.
“The University of Iowa touches every Iowa county,” Mason says. “Our alumni are doctors, teachers, and business people in their communities. Our students come from all over the state. University purchases and contracts support local economies everywhere.”
Other Hawkeye Caucus projects include regular email alerts to UI supporters, policymakers, and legislative staffers. The messages highlight UI activities that benefit Iowa students, businesses, communities, and taxpayers.
In addition, Caucus communications showcase “Hometown Hawkeyes”—UI alumni and students who are making a difference for Iowa communities.
Recent examples include Kelsey Hollingshead, a third-year law student who plans to practice in Britt, Iowa, following graduation, helping one small town meet its need for legal services. In Independence, Iowa, the Kegler family—including A.G., Dan, and Brad, all UI alumni—has provided three generations of dental care.
“Alumni may be the most important resource the university provides the state,” Mason says, “whether they’re Iowa natives or out-of-state students who decide to make Iowa their home.”