Thinking big and looking to the future were the talk of Minnesota State Student Association’s Wednesday meeting.

President Richard Davenport spoke about the growing enrollment and marketing strategies at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

“This is the most exciting year so far,” said Davenport.

Davenport said MSU is marketing all over the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota with commercials, billboards, social media and radio advertisements.

Davenport hopes to improve MSU’s retention rate in the coming years.

“We want students to come here and stay,” said Davenport.

Vice President for University Advancement Douglas Mayo introduced the Big Ideas Campaign, which centers on building a problem-solving institution and developing more opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

“The campaign about telling the story of what happens on this campus,” said Mayo. “The cool factor is the students.”

The plan is to raise $75 million by June 30, 2013.

To achieve this goal, Mayo said that shaping MSU’s brand definition and utilizing a strategic vision through the help of donors is essential.

Mayo said MSU plans to establish Global Solutions Scholarships and award grants to faculty and staff to develop real-world solutions.

The campaign also includes building a Global Solutions/College of Business Center with advanced technology.  The center will house solution labs that connect MSU students with other students at colleges and universities from all around the world.

The solution labs will give MSU students more opportunities to create innovative solutions to real-world problems such as pollution or poverty. The campaign also strives to incorporate a “Green Fund” that gives increased attention to faculty, staff and student ideas for campus sustainability.

The core of the campaign is telling the story of MSU students, and it will achieve this goal through providing more opportunities for study abroad, internships and service learning.

“Every one of you has big ideas and those are things that education enables,” said Mayo. “You are the most tuned-in of any generation. Keep doing the cool stuff, and you’ll help us get there.”

The kick-off event for the Big Ideas Campaign features the opening of the newly renovated CSU Ballroom Oct. 27 at 10 a.m.

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