Albrecht testifies before state congressional committee
By Jackson Olsen
February 9, 2009 | Utah State University President
Stan Albrecht went before the Higher Education Appropriations
subcommittee to deliver a presentation and testimony
on the value of higher education and of the research
currently being done at USU.
The committee, chaired by state Sen. John L. Valentine
(R-Orem) and made up of members of both bodies of the
Legislature, also heard from representatives from Weber
State, Snow College and the College of Eastern Utah.
"Some of the research and development being done at
our institution can and will change the world," Albrecht
said in his testimony. "The proposed cuts could do irreparable
damage to reverse all that."
The presentation focused on a number of different
"value factors" offered by the university to the entire
state community. Chief among these was the Space Dynamics
Laboratory that, in addition to performing critical
research in the field of space dynamics, has launched
more experiments beyond the earth's atmosphere than
any other university in the world.
According to Albrecht and Ned Weinshenker, USU's vice
president for strategic ventures and economic development,
another major component to USU's leading research portfolio
is the production of oil extracted directly from algae.
Professors and students at USU are currently developing
and fine tuning the process to safely provide energy
resources to the country without foreign assistance.
This new method and technology for producing energy
is gaining the attention of scientists and politicians
across the country and around the world, Weinshenker
The legislators on the committee seemed equally impressed.
"This is just fascinating," said state Rep. Curt Webb
(R-Hyrum). "What you guys have come up with is really
Joining Albrecht and his usual legislative entourage
were the USU Student Lobbyists, a group of students
participating in a lobbying internship offered by the
department of political science. Each year students
are lectured and instructed on lobbying techniques and
principles. Then, once the state legislative session
begins in January, the students put their knowledge
to practice and actually lobby state legislators on
behalf of Utah State University. The USU Student Lobbyists
had 11 students in attendance, and were there primarily
to support Albrecht's remarks.
"We just wanted to come down and let the legislature
know that we care about our futures and the future of
Utah," said Anna Harris, a sophomore majoring in political
science. "They need to know it's not just the administration
that cares about all this. It's the students."
In concluding his remarks, Albrecht urged the committee
to use prudence and consider all of the implications
of the currently proposed budget cuts. He again highlighted
the recent achievements of Utah State and its students
and faculty, this time not forgetting to mention the
Aggies' top 25 men's basketball team.