Why the Strength of Community Is Tied to the University
St. Cloud State University and the city of St. Cloud are two separate entities but both depend on each other for strength. St. Cloud State University President Dr. Robbyn Wacker joined me on WJON to examine how the University can do better and how the community can affect the University.
Wacker says the synergies between a University and community when it works, is amazing. She explains the economic impact St. Cloud State has on the community was $600 Million in 2023. Wacker says it is also their responsibility to provide strong academic programs. She indicates their nursing program ranks #2 in Minnesota, they've received awards for their online and computer science programs to name just a few. Wacker also says they are doing workforce events and have partnerships with employers and high schools. She says enrollment is another one of their responsibilities. Wacker says enrollment numbers are up compared to last spring, which is the first time for that since 2017.
What areas can the St. Cloud community help increase the strength of the University? I posed that question to Dr. Wacker. She feels welcome signs to students, renovation of homes in the campus neighborhood, support of campus events and activities and safety assistance can play a role. Wacker is pleased with Mayor Dave Kleis' pursuit of downtown revitalization and the cooperation of the St. Cloud Police Department to ensure safety around campus. She feels there is a misconception that the campus area isn't safe. Wacker believes it is.
Wacker has positive things to say about the community leadership currently in place and talks about the importance to be apart of community action groups and boards to help partner to improve the strength of the community and University.
Potential students have choices when they decide what college or University to attend. Wacker says many of their facilities were built in the 1960s and could use some refreshing. She would like to see some local business support and financial assistance from the state to upgrade these aging facilities. Wacker says many area high schools have undergone upgrades to their pubic schools and SCSU could use some help as well.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Dr. Robbyn Wacker it is available below.