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Op-ed: Trine University an important part of region’s vitality

By Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D.

Since coming to Trine University nearly 17 years ago, my wife and I have been privileged to call Angola and Steuben County home. Like those who have spent their lifetime in this region, we have fallen in love with the recreation offered on the area’s many lakes, the natural beauty of Pokagon State Park and the many other amenities this area offers.

Above all, we have enjoyed meeting neighbors and making friends in Angola and the surrounding communities. The people of this region welcomed us warmly in 2000 and have made us proud to call this area home since.

But Steuben County is home to more than just Melanie and me. More than 280 of Trine’s faculty and staff and nearly 900 alumni live in Steuben County, volunteering at schools and community service organizations, coaching youth sports teams, attending houses of worship and contributing to the quality of life and vibrancy of the region.

Recently Trine University compiled a report detailing the positive contribution the university had on Steuben County in 2016. While it would be impossible to chronicle all the benefits Trine provides for the region – from the many students who find their life’s calling through a Trine education to the visiting elementary school students inspired to seek a college education through Walk into My Future – we have attempted, as much as possible, to compile statistics to give some hard numbers to the university’s impact.

Here are just a few highlights:

  • According to standards used by the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Trine University had about $100 million in regional economic impact last year. As of Fall 2016, the university had 226 full-time, 156 part-time and 177 student employees.
  • Trine University fraternities and sororities contributed more than 12,700 community service hours during the 2015-16 school year and raised more than $45,000 for charity.
  • 362 Steuben County residents were enrolled at Trine University in Fall 2016.
  • A survey of Trine University employees showed the average employee provides five hours of community service each week and contributes nearly $3,500 annually to charitable causes.
  • Trine University’s Innovation One has completed or partnered on many projects that have benefitted Steuben County businesses and individuals and been part of efforts to bring new industries to Steuben County.
  • More than 3,000 students attended camps held on the Trine University campus during the summer of 2016.
  • About 13,000 rounds of golf are played by the general public on the university’s Zollner Golf Course each year.
  • Nearly 40,000 fans attended athletic events at Trine during the 2015-16 seasons.
  • More than 2,000 people attended concerts by professional artists on the Trine campus last year, and about 3,500 each year attend free concerts performed by Trine’s music ensembles.

If you would like to learn more about the impact Trine University has on Steuben County, feel free to request a copy of our printed report or download a more comprehensive version at trine.edu/about/impact.aspx.

Trine University has had a positive impact on Angola and Steuben County since its founding in 1884 as Tri-State Normal College, and we look forward to increasing that impact through upcoming projects like the Thunder Ice Arena, which will offer public skating and youth hockey programs. In turn, the university benefits from and appreciates the community’s strong infrastructure and financial support, and the vibrant community life it provides for staff and students.

We will continue to partner with local communities and the county to build the economy, attract new residents and businesses and improve the quality of place and quality of life for the region. And we will continue to do everything we can to add vitality and vibrancy to the community that so many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni call home.