Alliance for Iowa State spreads the word


Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad wraps up 2015 legislative action with vetoes to one-time funding for education and a plan to reopen mental health facilities in the state.

Thaddeus Mast

Iowa State has a new awareness and advocacy group for students and alumni: Alliance for Iowa State.

Created originally by the Alumni Association, the program has been relaunched within the past couple of weeks.

“The preface to all of this and sort of the goal we want to strive for with this group is to really increase our footprint and increase our awareness, and when I say our, I mean Iowa State,” said Joe Murphy, the Board of Regents state relations officer for Iowa State.

The plan for the alliance is to help people know what is happening at Iowa State.

“So many times, talking with legislators and talking with external folks, alums, they have a great understanding that Iowa State does some really great things, but sometimes they don’t really know the details on the grants and the great things we’re doing on campus,” Murphy said.

This program will hopefully combat this lack of knowledge.

ISU president Steven Leath is supportive of the program and helped create it.

“I am strongly behind and was heavily involved in the conceptualization of the idea, but the reality of it is it takes people that are capable and dedicated, smart people, to make it happen,” Leath said. “Joe and Makenzie have carried all the water in taking this from a concept to reality.”

Makenzie Heddens, special projects assistant in the office of the president, has been involved in creating the program from this idea, along with Murphy. She believes student involvement is key to the program.

“Students can get involved by first signing up for the weekly update. What that is, is we send out an email blast once a week to legislators, reporters, anyone who wants to get involved in the alliance about what’s going on at Iowa State right now,” Heddens said.

“You can fill out the What’s Important to You form, and that gives us an idea across our members of what they are interested in and what issues they value the most. There’s also a Share Your Story form. We’re looking to get some testimonials from people about what Iowa State has done for them, and how it has affected their lives.”

The alliance also has a Facebook and Twitter page which students can sign up for and receive news about Iowa State.

“Students can be our greatest advocates and allies in this effort. Students are, especially at Iowa State, really bright and capable people, and make a conscious choice to come to Iowa State and receive their education, and that’s great,” Murphy said. 

“This is a way that they can stay involved with Iowa State, get involved with Iowa State, not only on a student level, but on throughout when they graduate and start their careers as young professionals.”

The program is only in the awareness stage now, trying to get the message out to those who have been helped by Iowa State, but will grow over the coming years.

“It could be really huge. It’s going to take a while to build this up. I sort of liken it to planting a big tree. Right now we really want to hit the ground running and spread our message,” Murphy said. “I encourage the students to get involved. This will be a great legacy program for students that are in on these first couple of years as we grow and gain momentum, and it’s going to be something that will really benefit the university for years to come.”