Nov 192008
 
Authors: Johnny Hart

In an effort to increase CSU’s transparency to the outside public, south Denver business professionals and state legislators traversed across CSU’s campus Wednesday, evaluating several research enterprises the university currently has in progress.

The tours, organized by CSU’s newly created visitor series RamTracks, allow the university to display the programs it funds.

“It makes people feel good seeing what they’re investing in,” said Michele McKinney, a CSU spokesperson located in Denver.

Wednesday’s tours took two groups of the Denver South Metro Chamber of Commerce — 30 representatives all together — and several state and local legislators to both the Animal Cancer Center and the Energy Research Center.

The tours “show all the research and all the education programs that CSU is doing,” McKinney said.

State Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, said he feels these tours are very important and legislators need to experience these programs first-hand.

“I think legislators need to get out of the capital,” Kefalas said.

He added, “When the legislature is appropriating funds, they want to know where their investments are going, and so do the taxpayers.”

McKinney said these tours help express to state representatives and senators the value of the university has to the state and the world.

“These tours were to showcase CSU’s work,” McKinney said.

Currently, Colorado sits 48th out of 50 states in funding for higher education; therefore, every appropriation from the state has been well-received.

“Higher education is a discretionary budget line item. It’s usually the first to get cut,” McKinney said. “Whatever is left over, (the legislation will) see what (they) can give.”

Vice President for Research Bill Farland said the university has both given a “number of briefings” to legislators in Denver and presented research in Fort Collins.

“(We’re) trying to developed a strong interest with folks,” Farland said.

Farland’s presentation Wednesday explained the university’s Superclusters, a set of three research organs involved with translating research to the marketplace.

“It’s a part of CSU’s initiative to solve global problems,” McKinney said.

Kefalas said the Superclusters are beneficial.

“They’ve created enterprises that are creating revenue,” Kefalas said.

McKinney said she feels the tours have been successful in allowing the public to view these enterprises, saying RamTracks got the tour’s 30 attendees to take a day off of work for this tour.

McKinney said the program was created because before “people knew about CSU, but they didn’t know what CSU did.”

News Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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