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What makes U great?

Send in your story today. The Legislative Network's latest campaign, "What makes U great?," will run through December.

Speaking from the heart; tell your story

By Pauline Oo

From eNews, November 11, 2004

Is size a good measure of quality in education? No, says Tiana Darst. But had you asked the University of Minnesota student several years ago, her answer would have been: the smaller the school, the better the education.

"I looked at the U and was apprehensive because of its size and wasn't sure I would be able to get a good education because of this," says Darst, who spent her freshman and sophomore years at a private school in St. Paul. But she transferred to the U despite her doubts when her finances started running low. "Now, it turns out, I absolutely love the U," she says. "It accommodates many income levels, and the quality of the education is superb. I have learned so much more here than at my much more expensive private school. The professors are very responsive and have concern for their students, and I appreciate the diverse campus community."

As part of its campaign to build public support for the University, the Legislative Network is collecting personal anecdotes about the positive impact of the U.

"Statistics alone can tell us that the U is a great state asset; for example, more than 11,500 students received degrees in 2002-03," says Mike Dean, coordinator for the Legislative Network. "But percentages and numbers don't really tell us the full story. Why the University is important really hits home when someone tells you he or she is alive today because of the heart transplant they got at the U or that they landed their dream job thanks to the career resources offered at the U."

Dean hopes the personal stories will also help sway legislators when they have to make state funding decisions for the U.

"This year the University is seeking a financial partnership with the state by asking for $84 million over the next two years, and we want to make sure that our state leaders see this request as a worthy investment in the state's future," says Dean. "By sending them a selection of the stories we receive, we hope to remind them where the money really goes, who it really impacts."

The "What makes U great?" project will run through December. To learn more about it or to submit your story, see Legislative Network.

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