Brag points are fodder for renewed grassroots effort

The new year brought new life to a network of people interested in spreading the word about Iowa State's impact on Iowans. The Alliance for Iowa State, a coalition formerly coordinated out of the alumni association, is being managed from Beardshear Hall by state relations officer Joe Murphy and special projects assistant Makenzie Heddens.

Alliance for Iowa State

"The intent is to broaden our outreach capabilities throughout the state," Murphy said. "We have so many great things happening on this campus, and we want to spread that message far and wide throughout the state to people who may not be connected to Iowa State."

As part of the relaunch, a new website, Twitter account and Facebook page were created. Weekly updates highlighting colleges and programs also are emailed to state legislators and subscribers.

"I think it's important, as a public institution, that we're reaching all 99 counties and we're making people aware of the things that we're doing," Murphy said. "You're seeing more transparency and more effort put into helping Iowans succeed."

Faculty, staff involvement

The website gives individuals the opportunity to tell organizers what is important to them, and to submit their own "stories" that illustrate how ISU impacts their lives. Murphy said faculty and staff are invited to contact his office about what they are doing -- research, advising, projects and more -- that impact the state in a positive way.

"It doesn't have to be something extraordinary," Heddens said. "It can be something that we may take for granted and don't think about, that people across the state may not be aware of."

In its first three weeks, about 1,505 people have signed up for the weekly email. The frequency of alliance communications likely will decrease once the legislative session is over, but Murphy predicts it will not cease.

"The coalition-building intracampus could be really, really great," Murphy said. "The awareness of what we're all doing on campus will lead to a cohesive university, and a university that's going to be strong and growing for many years."