LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

State Representative Jill Billings from La Crosse is hoping to draw attention to the issues facing the UW System with a meeting of the minds at UW-La Crosse Tuesday.

Rep. Billings held a higher education symposium which included representatives from UWL, former Board of Regents President Brent Smith, and UW System President Ray Cross.

Community members were encouraged to attend the symposium and Cross says events like this are important for the System to better communicate how universities affect their communities.

"I think part of the challenge for the university is to understand how to better interact with the public, especially given this election and the challenges we face as a state and the polarization in our society. The university and in fact the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea depends on our ability to interact with the public and how might we better serve the public," said Cross.

Cross also says events like Tuesday's help the UW System stress the importance of having local universities for people who may live in rural areas.