Securing the Future of the Vermont State Colleges

Securing the Future of the Vermont State Colleges

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Patrick Wickstrom
Patrick Wickstrom signed this petition

As we move forward through the COVID-19 crisis we are seeing more and more businesses and communities being impacted negatively by this. The Vermont State Colleges System is no exception to this! This is the true test of the colleges within the system financially. Each of the four institutions that comprise the VSCS is key to the communities they surround and play an important role in the Vermont economy. Without them, this could cause irreversible damage to local economies within the state. Today we are asking for your support to pressure the Governor’s office as well as the State Legislature to give the State College System the financial support that it critically needs and deserves. The system is facing a deficit upwards of $8.5 Million for this year, which will have real and damaging implications. We are proposing that the state give the system enough money to compensate for the deficit and increase the yearly state appropriation from covering only 18% of the system’s cost to requesting an additional $25 million on top of the current appropriation. The system has been long plagued by state appropriation shortfalls from the state which has led the schools to struggle.  Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, Northern Vermont University-Johnson, Castleton University, Vermont Tech, and Community College of Vermont employ over 1,800 people in every county across the state and provides an education to over 11,000 students, 83% of whom are Vermont residents. Reviving the VSCS is key in reviving rural Vermont and providing not only Vermonters but people from all over this country with the essential skills needed in today’s economy. Northern Vermont University alone contributes about $113 million to the economy. Downsizing even one campus will have significant and long-term impacts on the surrounding communities.

 

A little about myself. My name is Patrick Wickstrom and I currently attend Northern Vermont University - Lyndon studying both Atmospheric and Climate Change Science. I also serve as the Financial Controller for our Student Government Association, am a Resident Assistant, captain of the Men’s Tennis Team, and a very active member of this campus and its community. My story starts at a young age when I learned I had a passion for weather and growing up in North Texas with our severe weather only grew that passion. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I learned about a school called Lyndon State College, now Northern Vermont University, and fell in love with it. It was always my dream to attend Lyndon because of the quality of its Atmospheric Sciences Department. As it came time to apply to college, I only applied to one school, Lyndon. I could’ve applied and gone to Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of Louisiana Monroe, but instead, I chose Lyndon. I knew that going to a smaller school far from home was the right choice for me. When I finally arrived in January of 2019, it was everything I thought it would be. I have made some of the best friends of my life, made connections with faculty and staff that I wouldn’t have elsewhere, and been given opportunities of a lifetime.  I even stayed in the summer of 2019 to work at Mountainview Country Club because I fell in love with the state of Vermont so much. Going to school at NVU - Lyndon has been the best decision of my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Supporting our school and the VSC helps students like me reach their goals and brings people to the great state of Vermont, which helps support its economy.