ESPN’s College GameDay to visit Bozeman for Brawl of the Wild

ESPN’s college pregame show will visit Montana for the first time to preview the 121st Brawl of the Wild.

The show College GameDay announced on Sunday that it will set up shop in Bozeman on Nov. 19, and will feature a studio with a live audience on Montana State University’s campus. 

Last year many fans thought GameDay would visit the University of Montana for the Cat-Griz game. It stirred a large campaign on social media, but the show chose Michigan State versus Ohio State in the end. 

This year the Big Sky Conference led the push for the show’s presence online with both U.S. senators representing Montana contributing.

Montana is ranked No. 16 in the FCS at 7-3 this week after beating Eastern Washington, and MSU is ranked No. 3 at 9-1 after beating Cal Poly.

UM beat the Bobcats 29-10 last year after MSU won the Cat-Griz game four years in a row.

Mansfield Center awarded $7.5 million for scholar exchanges 

The U.S. Department of State awarded UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center a $7.5 million grant to oversee a series of institutes boosting global understanding.

The grant contributes to the Mansfield Center’s status as the top UM organization in research expenditures this year, which supports the University’s recent Research 1 status. UM will create six multi-week institutes for the next three years to serve more than 300 foreign scholars and foreign faculty members. 

The Mansfield Center will oversee institutes at Arizona State University, the University of Delaware, the Institute for Training and Development in Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts and New York University.

Partner themes for other universities UM will work with include sustainability, economics, media, U.S. foreign policy, American politics and U.S. culture.

The grant program falls under the Study of the U.S. Institutes branch to promote national foreign policy goals by helping foreign audiences understand U.S. culture and people. UM received the grant because of the Mansfield Center’s success with a prior three-year grant. Nearly 60 scholars were a part of the Mansfield SUSI program in the past three years.

Missoula crisis levy fails, leaves services up in the air

The Missoula crisis services levy failed on election day by about 4,000 votes, putting funding for temporary living spaces and various crisis advocates in jeopardy.

The levy would have supported the Johnson Street Emergency Winter Shelter, the Temporary Safe Outdoor Space opening in the spring, the Mobile Support Team that responds to urgent behavioral health needs and the Crime Victim Advocate Program. The levy would have increased property taxes by $27 a year for every $100,000 home value, raising $5 million each year.

All these programs are funded through July 2023, with the TSOS being funded through 2025, but funding beyond that time remains up in the air. City Council also saved $900,000 in American Rescue Plan funds in the case the levy didn’t pass.

The same night the levy failed on Nov. 8, the Missoulian reported the winter shelter on Johnson Street housed 30 more people than its busiest night last year, with 135 individuals looking for cover from the winter conditions.

County Commissioner Josh Slotnick told the Missoulian that commissioners are willing to divert funding from other areas because of the programs’ importance for vulnerable residents. 

The Missoula Tenants Union is looking to support homeless Missoulians through mutual aid funds, and the Partnership Health Center and other local organizations are fielding donations to address the needs the levy sought to address.

UM indigenous student-focused programs receive technical skills foundation gift

The Cognizant Foundation, an information technology firm’s philanthropy effort to support underserved populations with industry-relevant education, gifted UM with $250,000 for STEM success for Montana’s Indigenous population.

The gift contributed to the Montana American Indians in Math and Science program, known as  MT AIMS, which supports indigenous middle and high school students in their transition into STEM higher education. 

The grant will also help launch the Indigenous First-Year Experience program, which will connect first-year Indigenous students at UM with advisers and resources to ensure success in the beginning of their college careers. The new program will include a seminar class, weekly tutoring and extra peer and faculty mentoring.

The 2022 MT AIMS summer camp saw 85 Montana students participate between sixth through 10th grade, and it will open up to 11th and 12th grades next year. The program hopes to serve 500 students each summer by 2030, according to the Director of Indigenous Research and STEM Education Aaron Thomas.

These programs support UM’s Excellence in Native American Education Plan, which aims to offer more resources and student services to Indigenous students. Since 2018, the University’s Native American student enrollment has risen by 26% and retention has increased by 17%.