The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is joining forces with Lafayette and six of its surrounding parishes at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge. A group of 150 individuals from the university, Acadia, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin and Vermilion will be at the state Capitol to meet with legislators for Acadiana Red and White Day.
The group will attend committee meetings in the morning and then meet with legislators throughout the day. This collaborative effort between UL Lafayette, city and parish governments, Acadiana area chambers of commerce, Acadiana economic development councils, Acadiana convention & visitors bureaus, South Louisiana Community College and Louisiana Technical College is meant to show the significance of working together as a region.
“ We want to go to the Capitol with a focus on market and workforce development. We want to improve our business environments through collaboration in the public policy arena and we want to expand our tourism through visitor promotions,” said Ken Ardoin, interim vice president for University Advancement. “UL Lafayette and six of the surrounding Acadiana parishes are coming together to promote the economic and social well-being of our region.”
Lafayette City Parish President Joey Durel feels the same. “It is important that our area mayors and parish presidents have a good working relationship and come together on issues that affect our region," Durel said. "If a business locates in St. Martin parish, for example, that helps all of us because people from all of our communities will have the opportunity to seek employment at that business. The Central Acadiana mayors and parish presidents also understand the importance of the University to our region, and we are thrilled to be a part of Acadiana Red and White Day at the Louisiana State Capitol.”
The group also wants to show its support of UL Lafayette – the largest university in the UL System and an economic engine in the region with an impact in Acadiana of nearly a billion a year. It sustains more than 12,800 jobs in Acadiana and pays more than $88 million in salary and wages. The university employs about 1,575 local citizens.
“ The Chamber is delighted to collaborate with the University and its partners in this important initiative,” said Rob Guidry, president and CEO of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud of the University’s accomplishments and are pleased to celebrate it on such a grand stage.”
The group also will honor UL Lafayette’s retiring President Ray Authement with proclamations in both the House of Representatives and the Senate chambers and with a reception that evening. Authement announced his retirement last year after serving 34 years as UL Lafayette’s president.