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April 7, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




ROCK Nation seeks advocates for SRU, higher education


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – “ROCK Nation,” a network for Slippery Rock University supporters to unite and communicate their support for the University and higher education is up and running – and attracting fellow enthusiasts.

            The University launched the advocacy Web site in March and provided details about its operations at the University’s Council of Trustees meeting March 17-18.

            In the first weeks more than 100 supporters joined the program.

            Louis Bouselli, an information systems major from Scranton, and Nikki VanDyke, a communication major from Indiana, Pa., handled much of the behind-the-scenes work in establishing the Web site and linking the program to the popular social media site Facebook.

            “It has been a lot of work, but fun,” Bouselli said. “I provided the computer side expertise, and Nikki provided the communication aspects, including writing the copy and selecting photos for the site,” he said.

            VanDyke said the team selected the Facebook link to take advantage of the potential worldwide exposure and because the site provided an easy way for those interested in joining ROCK Nation to make use of a program with which they are already familiar.

            She said it also gives new ROCK Nation members an easy way to link or recommend ROCK Nation membership to their Facebook friends.

            The application process and all necessary information for joining the advocacy group are available from the SRU homepage [] by clicking the “ROCK Nation” icon.

“This is a project that will have far-reaching effects,” said Robert Smith, SRU president. “We will ask advocates of ROCK Nation to share fundamental concerns with elected officials, business, community groups and prospective friends of the University. We know that providing a united voice on important topics about SRU and about higher education is important in influencing our government leaders.”

“The work of our students on this project has been exemplary. In fact, we are now considering creation of an academic major that would link computer science and communication studies more closely giving students the combined expertise to be able to handle such projects as this,” he said.

The grassroots organization is designed in large part to strengthen relationships with legislators and business and community leaders about higher education issues.

While not specifically created to address the current budget issues being faced by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the Pennsylvania legislature, those involved in the project say it could not have come at a better time.

“We hope those joining ROCK Nation will take on the funding and support issue and keep their legislators informed of their continued economic support for higher education,” Van Dyke said.

Membership applications may be completed online by clicking the “Get Involved” button from the ROCK Nation site. Applicant approval will be received via e-mail. The registration has options for linking to Facebook or receiving current issue updates via e-mail.

Membership is open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, University friends and those who support higher education.

The SRU site offers information about why advocacy is important and the role of an advocate and offers ROCK Nation resources, such as updates about budget issues and other public policy concerns identified by the University.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.