Regional Services

Past Community Activities & Projects 1st Quarter 2010

Southern Utah University’s Office of Government Relations and Regional Services represents the University’s interests with local, state, federal and tribal governments and policy-makers, and pursues state and federal resources and appropriations for the advancement of SUU’s mission.

The SUU Office of Government Relations works directly with, and is SUU’s point of contact and clearinghouse on matters dealing with:

  • The Utah Governor’s Office and the Executive Branch departments and programs
  • The Utah State Legislature and legislative staff
  • Utah’s Congressional delegation members and staff
  • Various federal agencies and programs
  • State and federal policy matters, appropriations and funding requests.

The Office of Government Relations has a special “community engagement” focus of working closely with local governments and state and federal agencies throughout the region as a partner and resource, assisting them with such things as economic and business development, community planning, cross-jurisdictional collaboration, and natural resource issues. The Office is also a champion for rural Utah priorities and policies and provides rural leadership development opportunities. This Regional Services community engagement role is designed to fulfill SUU’s mission as a regional university as outlined in the SUU Strategic Plan.

Additionally, the Office of Government Relations works with the Utah Commission of Higher Education and the State Board of Regents to advance the mission and objectives of the Utah System of Higher Education through state and federal political processes.

In fulfilling SUU’s regional community-engagement mission, and attempting to bring the resources and expertise of the University—as well as those of our numerous partners—to bear throughout the region, the Office of Government Relations and Regional Services is currently engaged in the following activities and initiatives:

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE & EXECUTIVE BRANCH STATE AGENCIES

Governor’s Rural Partnership Board
Government Relations & Regional Services has a dual role with the Governor’s Rural Partnership Board (GRPB), both as a standing member of the Board and as staff support to the Board through the Rural Coordinating Committee. The GRPB identifies rural economic development policy priorities and makes annual recommendations to both the Governor and the Legislature.

Southwest Utah Planning Authorities Council
Government Relations & Regional Services serves as co-chair and provides staff support for the Southwest Utah Planning Authorities Council (SUPAC), which was created by a gubernatorial executive order in 1994. SUPAC is a forum for regional leaders—state & federal agencies, county and local government, Tribes, higher education and the public—to address community, economic development, natural resource, public lands and other planning issues across southwest Utah.

Division of Forestry & SUU Demonstration Forest
Government Relations & Regional Services is working closely with local staff from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands to create the state’s first “Demonstration Forest” at the SUU Mountain Ranch. The Division is currently working with the SUU Mountain Ranch Resource Advisory Council to develop a Forest Stewardship Plan for the Ranch, which contains forest management objectives and activities for a model Demonstration Forest. A formal relationship is expected to be announced in 2010.

Frontier Homestead State Park
Government Relations & Regional Services represents SUU as a non-voting participant with the Iron Mission Museum Foundation board. In the past year, both the SUU President’s Council and Deans’ Council have toured the park and learned about the proposed Homestead project and park expansion. These visits, along with the Foundation board participation, led to a donation by the University to assist in the restoration and reconstruction on park grounds of the historic Jensen sawmill. An important component of SUU history, the Jensen sawmill was instrumental in milling wood in the late-1800s for SUU’s original and flagship building, “Old Main.” A dedicatory event for the restoration of the sawmill will occur in March 2010, as part of the annual SUU Founder’s Day celebration.

Regional Planner Project
Government Relations & Regional Services represents SUU as a non-voting participant with the Iron Mission Museum Foundation board. In the past year, both the SUU President’s Council and Deans’ Council have toured the park and learned about the proposed Homestead project and park expansion. These visits, along with the Foundation board participation, led to a donation by the University to assist in the restoration and reconstruction on park grounds of the historic Jensen sawmill. An important component of SUU history, the Jensen sawmill was instrumental in milling wood in the late-1800s for SUU’s original and flagship building, “Old Main.” A dedicatory event for the restoration of the sawmill will occur in March 2010, as part of the annual SUU Founder’s Day celebration.

UTAH STATE LEGISLATURE

State Legislature Relations & Liaison
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State of Rural Utah Annual Presentation to the Legislature
Government Relations & Regional Services has hosted the Utah Legislature at the annual State of Rural Utah dinner and presentation for 17 years. The 2010 event, always a Legislature highlight, is scheduled for February 9 in Salt Lake City.

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION

Congressional Delegation Relations & Liaison
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Senator Bennett’s Rural Business Conference Co-Sponsor
The Utah Rural Development Council (URDC), a non-profit organization housed within the Office of Government Relations & Regional Services, has been the co-sponsor for Senator Robert Bennett’s annual Rural Business Conference since its inception eight years ago. Government Relations & Regional Services staff assist with the planning and implementation of the conference. In a departure from previous years, the Rural Business Conference visited eight rural Utah communities throughout 2009. The next Rural Business Conference is scheduled for Price on February 18 & 19, 2010.

FEDERAL AGENCIES & PROGRAMS

Congressional Delegation Relations & Liaison
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SUU Head Start
SUU is the sponsoring institution, with oversight provided by Government Relations & Regional Services, for the federal Head Start program in southern and central Utah. SUU Head Start is a federally-funded, community-governed, preschool program spanning 25,000 square miles in six southwestern Utah counties. Well-trained, dedicated staff provides high-quality education, including health, family and support services, to more than 400 low income and/or at-risk Head Start families across the region.

Bryce Canyon National Park Alliance for Education
Government Relations & Regional Services serves as the primary contact for SUU’s “Alliance for Education” with Bryce Canyon National Park, which was signed in July 2006. The Alliance establishes a cooperative and mutually beneficial working relationship that furthers the missions of both entities.

Zion National Park & Zion Group Alliance for Education
As with the Bryce Canyon National Park Alliance for Education (see entry above), Government Relations & Regional Services is the point of contact for the Zion Group Alliance for Education, which includes Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument and Pipe Spring National Monument. Signed in November 2008, the Zion Group Alliance for Education establishes a cooperative and mutually beneficial working relationship that furthers the missions of both the University and each park unit.

National Park Service/SUU Shared Position
Government Relations & Regional Services and Cedar Breaks National Monument (NM) are partnering to fund and supervise this unique staff position. The SUU Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) Agency Coordinator is a National Park Service/Cedar Breaks NM employee housed on campus with the Office of Government Relations. The IIC Agency Coordinator serves as a liaison and link between SUU’s academic, outdoor and service programs, particularly the IIC, and the education, internship and personnel needs of the National Park Service as well as other state and federal natural resource management agencies in southern Utah and northern Arizona.

SUU Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative
Government Relations & Regional Services is proud to host the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC), a project began by SUU’s Outdoor Recreation in Parks & Tourism program and Cedar Breaks National Monument. In cooperation with multiple state and federal natural resource and land management agencies throughout southwest Utah and northern Arizona, the IIC develops public lands leaders of tomorrow by providing SUU students interested in agency careers with internship and other service & learning opportunities. Agency Partners include local units of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service and the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation.

Cedar Breaks National Monument to National Park Initiative
Government Relations & Regional Services is participating with a local task force, led by Iron County, to assess the possibility of pursuing federal legislation to enlarge Cedar Breaks National Monument and designate it a National Park.

REGIONAL & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

SUU Business Resource Center
The new SUU Business Resource Center (SUU BRC) is a “one-stop shop” where businesses and entrepreneurs can access a full array of business services and technical assistance. The BRC brings key business and entrepreneur assistance entities together under one roof. These include the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Outreach Center, Custom Fit Training, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), and the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce. The SUU BRC will also provide direct access to the resources and expertise of Southern Utah University’s School of Business and College of Computing, Integrated Engineering and Technology, along with access to other University programs and resources. The BRC also partners and works closely with local and regional community and economic development offices as well as private sector mentors and sources of business financing. Government Relations & Regional Services is the catalyst for the new SUU BRC, which opened its doors on Cedar City’s historic downtown Main Street in May 2009.

Entrepreneur Forums and County & Business Assistance
Staff from Government Relations & Regional Services and the new SUU Business Resource Center are actively reaching out to the surrounding communities in southwest Utah to extend the services and resources of the Business Resource Center (BRC) and the University to local businesses, entrepreneurs and economic development professionals. Central to this effort:

  • In partnership with the Kanab (Kane County) Chamber of Commerce, Government Relations is sponsoring and funding the monthly Kanab Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Forum;
  • The SUU BRC is hosting and implementing the Cedar City (Iron County) Business Expansion and Retention (“BEAR”) Program;
  • Government Relations and the BRC participates and cooperates across the region with local Chambers of Commerce, the Southwest Applied Technology College, Utah State University Cooperative Extension Services and Dixie State College of Utah; and,
  • The BRC is working directly with and assisting numerous private businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region.

Utah Center for Rural Health
The Utah Center for Rural Health, a program of Government Relations & Regional Services, is a community/campus partnership created to improve the health status of, and access to health services for, residents across rural Utah. The Center provides leadership by linking academic, community, government, private and public resources to address healthcare issues.

Utah Center for Rural Life
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Utah Rural Summit
Since 1988, the Utah Rural Summit has been the state’s premier forum for policy discussion and capacity building for rural leaders relative to community and economic development issues affecting rural Utah. The Summit features nationally-renowned speakers coupled with local implementation strategies to help rural communities succeed in the global economy. The 2010 Summit is scheduled for August 11-13 on the campus of Southern Utah University. Government Relations & Regional Services is proud to host the Utah Rural Summit—where rural Utah meets!

Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Implementation Program
In cooperation with numerous local, state, federal, Tribal and non-governmental partners from across the region and state, SUU and the Office of Government Relations & Regional Services are pleased to host the Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Implementation Program (UPDRIP). UPDRIP’s purpose is the establishment of a partnership effort to cooperatively implement the Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Plan while balancing and accommodating needs of the human population. With the support of the UPDRIP Executive Committee and the SUU College of Science, the Program’s first Coordinator has been hired and begins work February 2001.

Five County Association of Governments
Government Relations & Regional Services represents SUU as an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the Five County Association of Governments’ (FCAOG) Steering Committee, which meets monthly across the region. FCAOG is comprised of the five southwest Utah counties of Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington Counties. Regional Services also participates with the FCAOG Natural Resources Committee.

Five County Association of Governments’ Annual Human Services Public Forums
Government Relations & Regional Services is pleased to support the Five County Association of Governments’ Annual Human Services Public Forums. Held across the five southwest Utah counties, the public forums utilize the Office’s interactive audience-response polling system. This PowerPoint-based audience-response system allows anonymous “voting” and immediate calculation and projection of results. This planning and public involvement tool is an exciting method to engage an audience, and Government Relations & Regional Services is pleased to partner with FCAOG and its Human Services Public Forums by providing this technology.

Six County Association of Governments’ Annual Leadership Summit
Government Relations & Regional Services, along with the Utah Rural Development Council, a non-profit organization housed within the Office of Regional Services, is pleased to be a sponsor of and participant with the Six County Association of Governments’ (SCAOG) Annual Leadership Summit. The 2010 Summit is scheduled for early April in Richfield.

Iron County Natural Resource Management Specialist & Natural Resource Planning
Government Relations & Regional Services, during the summer of 2008, worked with the Iron County Commission and provided “seed” funding to hire a full-time Iron County Natural Resource (NR) Specialist. Mike Worthen, the new Iron County NR Specialist, is responsible for developing and implementing an Iron County Resource Management Plan. This is a nationally-significant effort to collaboratively and proactively address public lands planning and management issues from the local level utilizing a planning model developed by Government Relations & Regional Services personnel. Government Relations is as an ex-officio member of the recently-appointed Iron County NR Council, and staff provides technical assistance for the Iron County resource management planning initiative.

Iron County Coordinating Council
Government Relations & Regional Services regularly represents the University at the Iron County Coordinating Council, which is comprised of representatives from Iron County and municipalities within the county. Government Relations provides University updates of interest to the Council as well as serves as the connection to local government to access the resources and expertise of the University for their benefit.

Cedar City/SUU Cooperating Council
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Washington County General Plan Revision
Government Relations & Regional Services is pleased to be providing planning and other technical assistance to Washington County as County planners revise the existing General Plan. As with Iron County’s Resource Management Plan (see entry above), Government Relations’ assistance is primarily focused on the natural resource and public lands sections of the General Plan as well as increasing and improving understanding and collaboration between the county and land management agencies.

Zion Canyon Corridor Council (ZC3)
Government Relations & Regional Services is an ex-officio member of the Zion Canyon Corridor Council (ZC3). ZC3 is a regional planning initiative striving to apply Principle 1 of the recently-completed Washington County Vision Dixie planning process: “Plan Regionally, Implement Locally.” Government Relations & Regional Services staff serves as the Secretary for ZC3, while the Office also provides other technical assistance and funding for corridor and community planning along State Route 9, the “gateway” to Zion National Park, and ZC3’s area of emphasis. ZC3’s latest planning endeavor is a rural transit feasibility study for SR 9, and Government Relations & Regional Services is pleased to be a funding partner for this project.

Southwest Utah Renewable Energy Center
Government Relations & Regional Services serves on the Steering Committee for the Southwest Utah Renewable Energy Center (SUTREC). The mission of SUTREC is to showcase and promote renewable energy in the resource-rich area of Beaver County and southwest Utah. SUTREC partners cooperate to advance renewable energy education, training, research, technology and production leading to high-skill, high-wage employment, career and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Architectural Design Concept Services
Government Relations & Regional Services acts as the local government connection to this new service provided by the SUU College of Computing, Integrated Engineering & Technology. Students within the Department of Engineering Technology & Construction Management work with communities to provide architectural design concepts for public buildings and other design projects. Begun in Fall 2009, the service has already been utilized by two counties and two communities in the region with projects ranging from a new public safety building, to a new town office, to the proposed restoration of an historic county building.

UTAH SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION

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OTHER UNIVERSITY PROJECTS & ASSIGNMENTS

President’s Council
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Academic Strategic Plan
Government Relations & Regional Services is actively involved with the revision of the University’s Academic Strategic Plan. Led by the Office of the Provost, the new Academic Strategic Plan is an exciting endeavor that will guide SUU into the future. Among other activities associated with the planning, Government Relations serves on the Experiential Learning Focus Group.

Community Engagement Fund
To stimulate and support SUU faculty and student engagement with the broader community, Government Relations & Regional Services has established the “SUU Community Engagement Fund” (CEF). This grant program is designed to help cover faculty costs associated with community-related activities. Support for SUU’s Cedar Mountain Science Camp and outreach to science teachers is an example of a recently funded CEF project.

SUU Mountain Ranch Resource Advisory Council
In the summer of 2008, Government Relations & Regional Services was given oversight authority for the University’s undeveloped Mountain Ranch. The 2,800-acre forested property is along State Route 14 approximately ten miles up Cedar Canyon. The property surrounds the existing SUU Mountain Center, managed by SUU Conference Services. Government Relations & Regional Services created and facilitates the Mountain Ranch Resource Advisory Council (RAC), which is developing the first-ever resource management plan (RMP) for the ranch. Through the RAC and RMP planning process, numerous management opportunities and partners, both on campus and off, are being explored and utilized.

SUU/Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Collaborating Council
Government Relations & Regional Services participates with the new Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Collaborating Council, patterned after the University’s successful Alliances for Education with the National Park Service. Three areas of emphasis for the Council include economic development, student retention & recruitment, and student internship opportunities.

SUU Youth Science & Outdoor Education Director
Government Relations & Regional Services has been instrumental in developing and funding this new University position with the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Science. The Youth Science & Outdoor Education Director will oversee the University’s Cedar Mountain Science Camp and Voyager Mobile Science Lab as well as other programs related to the SUU Outdoor Initiative, the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC), and the two sponsoring Colleges. In this capacity, the Director will work closely with numerous partners across the region, including state & federal land management agencies and the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah..

SUU Museum of Natural History
The new museum of natural history will be a highlight of the Gibson Science Center now under construction. Government Relations & Regional Services is assisting the University’s museum planning team by bringing State and NGO experts in museum and exhibit planning and development to the effort. At the request of the museum planning team, and with the guidance and participation of our museum services partners, Government Relations & Regional Services is funding and leading the planning for a “Museum Summit” in late January 2010.

SUU Faculty Service Learning Committee
SUU’s Faculty Service-Learning Committee, chaired by Dr. Earl Mulderink, is focused on connecting SUU faculty and students with the community through such things as service learning, internships, and community faculty projects. Government Relations & Regional Services, while not faculty, wholeheartedly supports this complementary campus committee and initiative.

Past Quarterly Updates