Campuses showcased for legislature

March 30, 2017

Biennial event highlights campuses


All of the North Dakota University System’s public colleges and universities brought their best students, faculty and programs to Bismarck this week for the biennial NDUS Legislative Showcase. Joining the 11 campuses was UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Council of College Faculty, North Dakota Student Association and Staff Senate.

During the daylong event, campuses showcased programs that highlighted their current goals and long-term missions throughout the state. Among the many programs were cybersecurity, automation, horticulture, and nursing, although it was unmanned aerial systems that stole the show.

Nick Bittner, associate wind technology instructor at LRSC, gave an informal presentation on drones on the Senate Chamber floor.

Both Lake Region State College and University of North Dakota had drones on display and flying around – inside and out. Larger drones from UND could be seen on the mall in front of the Bismarck State Capitol, even as a smaller one was circling inside the Senate Chamber.

Nick Bittner, an instructor from LRSC who does work with wind energy and drones, was invited to give an informal presentation to the Senate after being sighted maneuvering his drone through Legislative Hall. Bittner spoke on the many applications of drones, highlighting how they could save money, and be used to increase safety.

“There are many different applications, from using them to monitor crops or inspect wind turbines, to using them for law enforcement,” Bittner said. “If police have to enter into a building that might be dangerous, they could use a small drone like this $40 model I have here to go in first and check to make sure it’s safe. That’s a small price tag to keep officers safe.”

After providing more details about the college’s work with unmanned aerial vehicles, Bittner answered a few questions posed by senators, then flew the drone twice around the chamber.

In addition to the impromptu presentation, legislators and members of the public were able to approach campus representatives for much of the day to inquire about programs and initiatives. During the noon hour, three choirs from Minot State University, University of North Dakota and Valley City State University each took turns singing to a packed Memorial Hall. They concluded their performance by combining choirs for the last few songs.

More photos from the day follow.