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First WMU Day is resounding, fun-filled success

May 29, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The corridors, stairways and elevators of the Michigan Capitol Building and the lawn outside the capitol were a sea of brown and gold yesterday as more than 700 Western Michigan University students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends convened in Lansing for WMU Day at the Capitol.

There were 713 registered participants in attendance, all sporting special yellow and brown WMU t-shirts, and an unknown number of unregistered Bronco faithful who attended. Eleven buses were used to transport about 600 of the registered participants from WMU's Bernhard Center to the capitol building and back.

One of the day's highlights was a dramatic flyover of the capitol at noon by two Cirrus SR-20s, the advanced aircraft used by the College of Aviation. A full-scale replica of the plane was among the more popular exhibits on the capitol grounds.

Throughout the day, there were Bronco cheers and singing of the fight song, some planned, but most impromptu. A group of music theatre majors performed on the steps of the capitol to an appreciative audience.

Each of the University's colleges, the Alumni Association and the University Libraries were represented with exhibits and information tables. Groups of students threw Frisbees and set up games on the lawn.

Delegations of students and alumni delivered a packet of information and a WMU souvenir to the office of each state representative and senator. Several state legislators joined the WMU crowd for a group photo on the capitol steps at the end of the day.

"It exceeded all our expectations in every way imaginable--in terms of number of participants, number and quality of the exhibits and the positive impact of having such a powerful demonstration of pride on the doorstep of the capitol building," said President John M. Dunn.

"Best of all, it appears that everyone had a great time."

WMU was the first university to have a front-lawn capitol presence for such a broad spectrum of programs and groups, including those from its main Kalamazoo campus and its eight branch campuses across the state.

The purpose of the event was to engage legislators and policymakers and demonstrate the importance of WMU and the contributions the University makes in providing an educated workforce and advancing the state's economic development, according to Greg Rosine, vice president for institutional advancement and legislative affairs

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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