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From Feb. 6 through 8, Missouri Western Student Government Association members headed down to Jefferson City, MO for Great Northwest Day at the Capitol.


One of the students in attendance was political science major, Emma Donaldson. Donaldson is the student director of external relations for SGA and has attended the event previously. 


“Great Northwest Day is something that happens every single year,” Donaldson said. “It’s where a bunch of counties from Northwest Missouri travel down the Capitol and make sure legislators remember that we exist.”


For 20 years, people from 19 counties in the Northwest region of Missouri are welcome to come and use the event as a way to set priorities as a whole. The event brings together more than 300 citizens, local officials and their many staff members and elected colleagues.


“It gives an opportunity for counties who might be a bit smaller and who might not have as much reach, be able to meet with their legislators, advocate and talk to them about specific problems,” Donaldson said. “The mayor from Worth county was even there, so that was cool.” 


This year, the legislative priorities included infrastructure (including Broadband), education, workforce (including childcare) and housing. 


“One of the most challenging issues facing rural Missouri is a diminished workforce,” said “Typically, rural labor markets have very low unemployment rates; however, they also suffer from lower-than-average labor force participation rates. In order for rural areas to thrive, there must be an emphasis placed on increasing labor force participation, as well as expanding the labor force (through marketing rural living).”


Missouri Western showcasing itself to the Senate was an important part of having SGA attend, not just for the students. 


“There are a lot of universities that receive state funds in Missouri,” Donaldson said. “There’s importance in us being there to advocate for the students but also advocating for the university as a whole. The fact that we are a small Northwest school puts us on the chopping block before Mizzou or Missouri State.” 


Other students in attendance included Caitly Thompson, Jacob Ridens and Marian Montiel. They all had the opportunity to meet legislators in their offices during 15-minute increments. From the House of Representatives, they were able to meet Speaker Dan Plocher, Brenda Shields, Kevin Windham, Maggie Boyd, Dean VanSchoiack and Bill Falkner. The senators they met with were Tony Luetkemyer and Rusty Black.


SGA has many events during the school year, including the upcoming Heart Your Union event. They have meetings every other Monday as well. The next big thing coming up will be starting their election process. 


“I believe elections happen before spring break,” Donaldson said. “Once we know who’s President and Vice President, they will start interviewing people they want to come in. We were a bunch of newbies so we’ve been trying to figure it out as we go along. As an organization, we’re looking at how to best facilitate the transition for next year.”

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