Northwestern officials take trip to Capitol Hill

Alva
| More

Northwestern officials take trip to Capitol Hill

April 2, 2009

 Jaunita Seevers, Dr. Janet Cunningham, Tom Cole, Steve Valencia
Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole (third from right) meets with representatives of Northwestern Oklahoma State University in his office on Capitol Hill during the school’s recent trip to Washington, D.C. Representing Northwestern are Jaunita Seevers, Upward Bound program director; Dr. Janet Cunningham, president; and Steve Valencia, associate vice president for university relations.
Briefing congressional leaders and agency leaders on the work of Northwestern Oklahoma State University and building federal support for special projects and grants was on the agenda for three institutional officials during a recent trip to Washington, D.C.

President Janet Cunningham, Steve Valencia, associate vice president for university relations, and Jaunita Seevers, director of Upward Bound programs, traveled to Washington for two days of meetings, March 23-24. It marked Northwestern’s first official trip to Capitol Hill in memory.

“One of the initiatives of our strategic plan was to develop relationships at the federal level that could benefit Northwestern,” Cunningham said. “Our recent success in securing Upward Bound grants from the Department of Education and telecommunication grants from the Department of Agriculture underscored the need for us to continue work at the federal level.

“The experience was very positive. Members of our congressional delegation are now more aware of our mission and our needs. Working at the federal level is a process, and this trip was a great start in securing support from Washington.”

The group met directly with Sen. Jim Inhofe, Rep. Tom Cole and Rep. Dan Boren, and met with the staffs of Sen. Tom Coburn, Rep. Frank Lucas and Rep. John Sullivan.

“The face-to-face meetings with members of our delegation were highly productive, but developing a network of contacts with congressional staffers is just as important,” Valencia said. “If you can get information quickly into the hands of the right staff members, then your chances of winning congressional support increase significantly.

“It is important that we work to earn federal support and bring federal dollars back to Northwestern for the benefit of our students.”

In addition to meeting with members of Congress, the group also met with officials from the Department of Education to brief them on the progress of Northwestern’s Upward Bound programs and to build support for future grant applications.
-NW-