|Submission Date||July 22, 2014|
Western Michigan University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy
Government Affairs and University Relations
Does the institution advocate for national, state/provincial, or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:
The WMU Office of Government Affairs (OGA) is the chief public policy advocacy arm for the university. That said, advocacy may occur elsewhere within the University consistent with specific academic disciplines of where the office may provide assistance for those advocacy efforts. An example of that occurred this year when Dr. Denise Keele of the Environmental Studies Program, under the direction of the OGA, arranged for a student “lobby day” at the state capitol to address an environmental issue chosen by the students. The 36 students focused on educating state legislators on the potential for a catastrophic oil leak into the Great Lakes from an old oil pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Prior to the students going to the state capitol, the OGA provided them with instruction on effective lobbying practices and identification of key legislators. The OGA also provided the students with t-shirts identifying them as WMU students.
The Office of Government Affairs advocacy efforts are centered on securing state appropriations for the University and addressing public policy issues that arise in the state legislative process that can either benefit or harm the efficacy of the institution in meeting its principal directive of meeting the needs of its students. It does not undertake advocacy on behalf of the University on public policy issues that may have merit, but are not directly related to the institution.
The OGA is working on a funding that will allow the University to have a greater influence on sustainable groundwater management within Michigan. Two years ago the OGA worked to effect legislation that transferred the Michigan Geological Survey to WMU from state government. The office is working with the director of the Geological Survey, housed within the Department of Geosciences, to secure state and federal funding to support the Survey’s work to map groundwater resources to improve the accuracy and reliability of the state’s water withdrawal model.
A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years:
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
The website URL where information about the institution’s advocacy efforts is available: