Aubrey Reynolds-Erspamer, WMU Bronson School of Nursing graduate at
Kalamazoo's Bronson Methodist Hospital
Call for cooperation, not duplication, for state's nursing programs

Michigan community colleges across the state are advocating for legislation in HB 5557 that would allow them to offer bachelor’s degrees—more specifically Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. Viewed as duplicative and counterproductive in solving Michigan’s current nursing shortage, Michigan universities—public and private—are pushing back on the initiative.

Michigan’s community colleges and universities have a long history of strong partnerships to provide seamless student transfer across academic and professional programs, including the BSN degree. Today, 27 BSN programs are offered by Michigan’s public and private, non-profit four-year colleges and universities at 37 different locations throughout the state; the vast majority of which are already under capacity.

Read more on our website. If you agree that it is not necessary to expand the mission of Michigan’s community college to provide BSN programs, please call or write your elected officials and ask them to oppose this legislation. Encourage them to seek solutions that benefit from collaboration among community colleges and universities to provide cost-effective higher education programing for students and taxpayers alike.
Who represents me?

Do you know who represents you in the Michigan Legislature? U.S. Congress? Busy lives, term limits and shifting legislative districts sometimes make it difficult to keep track. The U.S. government hosts a website directory where you can quickly search via your address to identify the elected officials representing you at the local, state and federal levels and access links to contact information. Get in touch! Citizen input on issues is helpful and appreciated!
Has my voting district changed?

Michigan voters in 2018 passed Proposal 2, which shifted responsibility from legislators to citizens for the redrawing of the state's legislative districts that occurs following the 10-year U.S. Census. A 13-person commission was formed in 2019 of Republican, Democratic and independent citizens to meet in public to re-draw the state's maps.

Commissioners approved new Michigan Congressional, State Senate and State House maps in December--click on the links to determine if you were impacted by the state's newly drawn lines. Public review of the new maps has resulted in the commission fielding two lawsuits over state and federal political districts. Learn more and submit public comments on the MICRC website.
New AD ready to partner with campus, community

Welcome to Dan Bartholomae, former Oregon State University executive deputy athletic director and chief operating officer, who took the reins of Bronco Athletics effective Jan. 1. He succeeded longtime Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard, who retired in December after a four-decade career at Western, including 24 years heading up the division. In a Jan. 6 press conference, Bartholomae shared his vision and priorities--see video below.

"We will champion our student-athletes as they pursue their athletic, academic and life goals; we will serve as incredible partners within the University and to our fans and supporters; and we will empower our athletic department staff and coaches in achieving our goals together," Bartholomae said at the press conference. "This is a great day to be a Bronco, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work!"
Take The Promise challenge: Hire summer interns

Through its Higher Promise program, The Kalamazoo Promise challenges regional business partners to offer paid summer internships to Promise Scholars who are enrolled in Western, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The Kalamazoo Promise will facilitate job matching between internship seekers and companies, aligning student majors and interests with business partner needs. Challenge information.
Free Speech Cafés, in person and livestream

The monthly Free Speech Cafes hosted by We Talk are back—in person and via livestream from the lounge of the Lee Honors College.

"Haters gonna hate? Responding Intelligently to Hate Speech kicked off the spring 2022 café series on January 26--click on the video to hear what panelists had to say!

Next up is "Where is the line? Free Speech Protections vs Legitimate Threats planned for February 24 at 3:30 p.m.

Visit the We Talk website to access livestream links and to learn how you can engage with this initiative focused on encouraging civil discourse and viewpoint diversity.
Our spring 2022 student support team
The Government Relations team welcomed a new member at the beginning of spring semester, Emma Baratta, a graduate assistant majoring in Spanish and Hispanic Studies, who completed Western bachelor's degrees in international and comparative politics, Spanish and economics in December 2021.

Over the 2020-21 academic year, Emma served on the WSA executive board as the Vice President for Political Affairs. She is tasked with a wide range of projects and responsibilities supporting the Government Relations team, including assisting with the We Talk initiative, helping strengthen partnerships with the Hispanic and LatinX communities in Kalamazoo, and continuing to increase civic engagement at WMU and beyond.

Eusha Rushmila, a Capital Intern working with the Government Relations team for the 2021-22 academic year, is now in Lansing every Tuesday gaining exposure to how state government serves the people of Michigan. She also continues to work on campus in the Government Relations office in Seibert Administration Building. Please give Emma and Eusha a warm welcome if you happen to meet them!
Learning from leaders at Catalyst University
WMU students had a keen opportunity to listen and learn from an impressive slate of speakers at Southwest Michigan First's Catalyst University last week.

The annual event focuses on building up business leaders from across Southwest Michigan to motivate them and inspire progress in the region. The students were especially excited to see Irshad Manji back in Kalamazoo as one of the CU featured speakers, who shared her message about moral courage.

We Talk, the University's civil discourse initiative, invited Manji to visit campus and the community last September, which sparked broad interest in the moral courage method of inclusion training she founded and offers through Moral Courage College. Watch the
We Talk website for coming announcements about moral courage leader and mentor training in Kalamazoo!
The Western Michigan University Office of Government Relations will ethically 
operate with transparency, civility, bipartisanship and inclusivity to support public 
higher education. We advocate for and advance public policy and partnerships
benefiting Western Michigan University and the communities we serve.