ASUM: ensure the future-invest in knowledge

JEFFERSON CITY – Student leaders from all four campuses of the University of Missouri system took part in the 18th Annual Student Showcase on April 19.

The theme, “Ensure the Future – Invest in Knowledge,” reflected the Associated Students of the University of Missouri focus for the showcase.

“ASUM hosts the event to make legislators aware of research and activities going on at each campus,” said Brent Showalter, Program Director for ASUM and a senior psychology major at UM-Columbia.

“The UM system is facing an access crisis in higher education funding,” Showalter said. “It is essential the legislators become aware how at a specific level programs and even students are suffering because of the lack of funding.”

Higher education funding in Missouri has seen reductions, as has higher education across the country.

Missouri ranks about 46 per capita in higher education funding, Showalter said.

“This event isn’t a negative protest for education funding,” he said.

“It’s just a goodwill event we host to keep legislators aware of what going on,” he said.

Rep. Sam Page (D-St. Louis County), a former ASUM member, spoke with students at the showcase about ASUM.

“I was student president of UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City) in the late 1980s, and we brought ASUM onto that campus,” Page said. “There are a lot of representatives, lobbyists and other interested parties in the capital that got their first exposure to the legislative process through ASUM.”

“ASUM gives students the opportunity to participate in the political process, teaches them how to effect policy,” Page said.

As a college student, Page was part of an effort to add a voting student member to the UM Board of Curators.

“I believe just yesterday we gave first round approval to that concept,” Page said. “It was nice to see an issue I worked on as a student and lobbied for. I actually got to vote on it in congress.”

To support the showcase theme, ASUM initiated a new program in 2005 and published “Voices: Students speak about the impact of increasing tuition.”

“We’re hoping on certain issues that deal with tuition and general higher education, what we really would like to reach out to other state universities,” said Greg Porter, board chairman of ASUM and a senior political science major.