If you haven't visited the A-State campus in Jonesboro recently you will be amazed at the many projects which have been completed over the past few years. With many of the improvement projects finalized or nearing completion, students back on campus and fall weather coming soon, the excitement of college football season is in the air.
Many of us in Region 8 are gearing up to support our favorite team... most likely the Indians or the Razorbacks... or in my case... Southern Miss. And even though athletically you may support only one team... we say it shouldn't have to be an either / or proposition. Success for all Arkansas based programs means success for the entire state.
But when the competition is over, and for reasons much greater than the results of a game played on turf, hardwood or diamond, it is important that all of us in Region 8 join together in supporting Arkansas State University.
Enrollment at the Jonesboro campus is more than 10,000 students . . . students who purchase clothes and supplies, eat at restaurants, subscribe to cell phone services, and much more. This means thousands of dollars added to the local economy, plus the tax revenues that help support city and state services. And that's just the Jonesboro campus... there are several satellite campuses in other communities across Northeast Arkansas who receive similar benefits.
ASU's budgeted faculty and staff payroll for 2006-07 is $61 million, most of which is spent or invested in Northeast Arkansas. And the faculty and staff at ASU, of which there were more than 1,300 this past fiscal year, not only invest their money in Region 8, but they contribute to our community in many other ways through civic, community and church activities.
ASU has many valuable programs, but two of them fill critical needs in Northeast Arkansas and Region 8 -- Education and Nursing. ASU graduates more teachers and more nurses than any other institution in the state.
Arkansas State University provides numerous options for cultural enrichment through the performing arts and the visual arts, such as those provided through the Fowler Center and the ASU Convocation Center.
New business is more likely to locate in the area when industrial recruiters can point to the services and opportunities available through an institution like ASU.
If ASU and Arkansas... or even Southern Miss ... are competing in an athletic event, by all means, cheer for your favorite team. But for all of us who live, work and play in Region 8, when the game is over, then let's have a unanimous cheer for a better Region 8.