Topics: Administrative, Board of Trustees, President

January 26, 2017

Ball State Day at the Statehouse

Photo by Sam Blankenship

A sea of Cardinal red welcomed visitors to Ball State Day at the Statehouse on Wednesday, Jan. 25. Students, faculty, staff and alumni met with lawmakers and other state officials.

Gray skies threatened rain outside the Indiana Statehouse on Wednesday, but nothing could put a damper on the energy emanating from the students, faculty, staff and alumni who gathered for Ball State Day at the Statehouse.

The event, hosted by the university’s Government Relations and Community Engagement team, connected members of the Ball State community with lawmakers and other key stakeholders. They shared stories and information about how the university benefits students and the state as a whole, and illustrated the impact those students then have in their career fields, their communities across the state and around the world.

“While those of us connected to Ball State know firsthand the significance of the programs and projects our students and faculty immerse themselves in, it’s critical that those who are unfamiliar with our university understand that work,” said Sam Snideman, director of governmental relations.

“When we explain to lawmakers that 85 percent of our undergraduate students come from Indiana and that more than 70 percent stay and make their homes here upon graduation, you can see the recognition from many of just what that means to the state.”

What’s more, in an ever-changing economy, reporting that four of five recent graduates are employed in their field of study is another great reminder of Ball State’s high return on the state’s investment, he said, especially when lawmakers can immediately pair a student’s story with those statistics.

Ball State Day at the Statehouse

Photo by Sam Blankenship

Perry Hammock, executive director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, chats with some of the students who produced a documentary on the statewide torch relay. Hammock is speaking with, from left, seniors Nicole Lehman, Sadie Lebo, Micah Holtgraves and Sami Hunter.

“If I could stand on top of a mountain and yell, ‘Go to a Ball State career fair,’ I would,” said Jerremy Jarvis, 22, a Miller College of Business senior from Hartford City, Indiana.

Jarvis, an economics major and U.S. Army Reservist, said he went to last fall’s event not set on any one company or career. But he walked away with an interview that ultimately turned into a job offer he accepted.

“To have the opportunity to connect with employers, to meet people and learn about a company I’d never heard of, and then to get a job out of it, well that’s invaluable. And that to me is Ball State.”

Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, visited with students and faculty, and offered her own experiences of watching Ball State grow from what the university was when she and her husband first moved to town in 1970 to today.

She’s well versed in all that Ball State does and offers, and she was pleased that her House and Senate colleagues had a chance to learn more about a university she loves.

“It’s important to show that Ball State offers a really good education to students, through programs like immersive learning,” Errington said. “We’ve seen so much change in the university over the years, both in terms of the great emphasis on students, to the physical growth and change. It’s just been tremendous.”

“We’ve seen so much change in the university over the years, both in terms of the great emphasis on students, to the physical growth and change. It’s just been tremendous.”

— Sue Errington
Indiana State Representative

Daniel Smith, a senior chemistry major from Yorktown, Indiana, said the university has been the right fit for him not only because of the academic rigor and growth he’s experienced as he prepares for medical school but because of the relationships he’s built along the way.

“At Ball State, you get a lot more personal interaction with professors,” Smith said. “I feel so prepared because I can go in and talk with our department chair, and ask questions, get clarity on something. That’s something I’ve really liked about Ball State — it’s more like a family.”

That sense of belonging is a feeling that has stayed with Laura Parks, Schererville, Indiana, a December graduate headed to law school.

“For as cliche as it sounds, I always felt like I wasn’t just a number, I was a student,” Parks said.

Quintin Thompson agreed. The political science and philosophy senior from Bloomington, Indiana, said a chance to belong was a driving force behind his college choice.

“I wanted a place where you could build real relationships with your professors and with other students,” Thompson said. “Ball State is big enough to have so many opportunities, but small enough that as a student you get to set goals and actually attain them ... That’s vitally, vitally important.”