7-Eleven (and no, this is not about convenience stores)
by Al Heuton, BEDC Executive Director
For the last ten years I have participated in a day-long event during which the Brookings community and SDSU collaborate to descend upon state government in Pierre. Each of these years over 100 community leaders, SDSU personnel and business/industry representatives depart Brookings at 5:00 a.m. and arrive back in Brookings about 11:00 p.m. The seven hour morning consists of cups filled with coffee, a long bus ride and community discussion, arriving in Pierre by 9:00 a.m. followed by meetings with state department heads until noon. The eleven hour afternoon consists of a lunch meeting, serving SDSU ice cream, watching activity on the floors of the house and senate, more meetings, an evening reception hosted by SDSU, and finally a long bus ride home with cups filled with beverages of a different sort.
The event, Brookings/SDSU Day at the Capitol, provides the Brookings community an opportunity to build connections, learn about several state departments that impact our daily lives and hear about state budget and other issues that will be discussed during the legislative session. Brookings Day is also a great opportunity for our community and SDSU to discuss projects, opportunities and issues with key elected and appointed state officials. Topics discussed in the past have revolved around legislation impacting the business community, transportation projects, education, health care, housing, workforce and many more topics. Brookings Day is a fantastic opportunity to encourage learning and discussion among community members and with state officials.
Brookings and SDSU receive very positive feedback each year in Pierre. State officials are very complimentary of how our event is organized, the scope and content of our discussions, but most importantly, we are complimented on how Brookings is able to get things done. Other communities and state officials ask – What makes Brookings work? The simple answer is collaboration and team work. Brookings has a common agenda. Components of this agenda are developed by multiple organizations and events throughout each year but the discussions are driven home through periodic events such as community visioning charrettes and regular meetings of a Leader Roundtable. The Roundtable, comprised of elected officials, business and industry, public institutions and civic organizations, meets monthly to discuss the future of the community, share information and ideas, and seeks to solve issues and capitalize on Brookings’ many opportunities.
When you think about it, Brookings/SDSU Day at the Capitol is really just a reflection of the Brookings community condensed into one long day and played out in our state’s capitol.