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Without faculty and staff, no students.

Without students, no faculty and staff.

And without either, the city of Oshkosh would be minus more than 15,000 vital educational and economic contributors – people infusing the community with knowledge, service and an annual economic surge last estimated to generate a half-a-billion-dollar impact in the region.

On March 25, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s students earned an important moment in the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce’s community spotlight.

The Chamber awarded the students of UW Oshkosh its Educational Leadership Award, part of the organization’s, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation’s and several other sponsor’s collaborative “Celebrate Education 2013” event.

The annual program, also supported by the Oshkosh Area School District, Oshkosh Mid-Morning Kiwanis, Wisconsin Public Service and Oshkosh Rotary Southwest, presents awards and grants to local teachers, administrators and community supporters of education.

Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Casper said the students of UW Oshkosh, for decades, have deeply impacted the city and region by serving and stimulating “the very fabric of our extended community.”

“Student spending stimulates the local and regional economy,” Casper said. “Additionally students as a group over the years have made a number of key investments — through student fees – for a number of high visibility and high priority campus projects that have enhanced and changed the landscape of the city of Oshkosh.”

Casper cited student investments in an array of campus construction projects over the last decade, projects either partially or totally funded by tens of millions of dollars in student-endorsed fees. They include the renovation of the Reeve Memorial Union, the construction of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, improvements to the Oshkosh Sports Complex, the redevelopment of Elmwood Commons into the Student Success Center, the construction of Horizon Village that opened in fall 2012, the construction of the Alumni Visitors Welcome Center under construction now and the impending development of new multi-seasonal recreational fields – dubbed the ‘RecPlex’ — in the area fronting Wisconsin Avenue, where the flood-damaged River Commons is being razed.

“Students – and students’ energy and initiative – also benefit our extended community through their outreach efforts, volunteer service and internship expertise,” Casper said. “In so many ways, students enrolled at UW Oshkosh represent a critical investment partner in our region’s overall quality of life.”

“This recognition provides a well-deserved and, frankly, long overdue, expression of thanks to students who have really stepped up to help make the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh a source of considerable pride,” Casper said.

Oshkosh Student Association (OSA) President Jeci Casperson and OSA Speaker Pro-Tempore Sarah Spiegel accepted the award on behalf of the institution’s more than 13,500 students.

“It’s nice to see that work that our students have been doing with our Chancellor, with our faculty, with staff at the University, is being appreciated and is being noticed on a community-wide level,” Casperson said.