Northeast Kingdom Collaborative urges funding for NVU

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Northeast Kingdom Collaborative urges funding for NVU

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 2:15pm -- tim
Courtesy photo of NVU-Johnson

by The Board Of Directors Of The Northeast Kingdom Collaborative For generations, NVU’s two campuses have been educational, cultural, and economic drivers for our region. As leaders from many different walks of life in the Kingdom, each and every one of us has seen the impact that NVU has had on our communities, our economy and our culture. NVU’s contribution to the Kingdom is invaluable. We know change is here and we embrace it. But for the successful future of the NEK that change has to include the continued existence of NVU. We implore our elected officials – from members of the Legislature to the Governor – to look closely at the immense impact that NVU has on the northern tier of Vermont and fund NVU appropriately.

NVU plays a critical role in ensuring that our region provides equitable access to excellent educational and economic opportunities. 70% of its students are Vermonters and nearly 50% are the first in their family to attend college.

The simple fact is that without NVU many kids in the Kingdom would not receive a higher education. NVU brings 18,000 people to our remote region every year and many of the students choose to make Vermont their home after they graduate. Local employers from across the region rely on NVU to produce a hardworking, skilled workforce. Many other alumni come back to visit Vermont after they graduate, bringing significant financial investments with them.

NVU employs nearly 700 Vermonters in well-paying jobs and has an estimated $113 million annual economic impact on our region.

And the benefits don’t end there. NVU serves as an intellectual hub, has responded to our changing economy by establishing a coworking office with DO North Coworking, provided a performing arts space for Catamount Arts and Kingdom County Productions, provided a pipeline for nursing staff at North Country Hospital and Northern Vermont Regional Hospital, and served as a conduit for local businesses seeking interns or permanent employees.

NVU is embracing the changes that we all recognize must occur. The University is focused on strengthening its two campuses and NVU online so that it can thrive into the future. It has called upon community members to help develop a model that will right-size the University and allow it to more effectively focus on its core mission, identify new revenue streams and form new partnerships so it stands ready to serve generations to come.

This is not easy work. Many tough decisions are being made. We now need elected officials to do their hard work and provide adequate funding to NVU and the other Vermont State Colleges.

More than 20 years-ago, then Lyndon State College President Peggy Williams said, “Lyndon sits in a place where there are no other colleges in the region, so we feel a sense of responsibility to be the institution for the area.”

The NEK Collaborative recognizes that this is a shared responsibility—between the Vermont State College System and the communities it serves.

As leaders in our communities, we stand with the Vermont State College System, ready to do what is necessary to ensure NVU’s sustainable success in for the future.

Submitted by

The Northeast Kingdom Collaborative

Board of Directors

Kathy Austin, President and CEO, Community National Bank

Dr. Elaine Collins, President, Northern Vermont University

Nick D'Agostino, Executive Director, Rural Community Transit

Jon Freeman, President, Northern Community Investment Corp.

Jody Fried, Executive Director, Catamount Arts

Jeanne Gervais, President, Island Pond Chamber of Commerce

Joe Kasprzak, Ast. Town Manager, Town of St. Johnsbury

Jim Kisch, President and CEO, Passumpsic Bank

Julie Laforce, Owner; Dir. of Organizational Dev., Built by Newport

Abby Long, Executive Director, Kingdom Trails

Tom Lovett, Headmaster, St. Johnsbury Academy

Patrick Shattuck, CEO, RuralEdge

David Snedeker, Executive Director, Northeastern Vermont Development Assoc.

Shawn Tester, CEO, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital

Steve Wright, President and General Manager, Jay Peak Resort

Advisory Members

Suzanne Legare Belcher, Field Service Director, VT Agency of Human Services

Ben Doyle, Ast. State Director VT/NH, USDA Rural Development

Tim Tierney, Director of Business Recruitment, VT Agency of Commerce

Sarah Waring, Vice President for Grants and Community Investments, VT Community Foundation

The Northeast Kingdom Collaborative (NEKC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a vibrant, thriving Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. For more than 20 years, the NEKC has been working to improve the quality of life for all residents of the NEK through coordinated economic and community development. We do this by (1) building a common vision for the region through community convenings (2) supporting collaboration to achieve collective action on shared goals and (3) connecting people and projects to resources.