WSU is advancing Washington industries …
WSU teams with aviation to develop sustainable aviation biofuels …
WSU partners to develop bioproducts that reduce dependence on petroleum imports …
WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

"Take Five" for WSU and higher education, Cougar Chat, In the News

Take Five for WSU: six reasons to join the “take five” initiative

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Welcome to the “Take Five” Initiative. We provide weekly tips, suggestions, examples, and the tools so you can take five minutes and be an effective advocate for higher education and WSU. The truth is, being an advocate is something most of us do everyday. If you have spoken up on behalf of someone you care about, you have been an advocate. Being an advocate for public higher education and WSU is no different – WSU Impact provides the resources and tools for you to speak up for an institution you care about. We offer a full spectrum of ideas that will be helpful to initiates as well as our seasoned veterans. In this third installment, we provide six reasons to “take five” for WSU.

WSU Impact

As Americans, we are lucky. We enjoy a government system that strives to be fair and open to all no matter what their age, income, or ethnicity. But that does not happen by chance, and it does not mean citizens don’t have a critical role to play in communicating with our elected officials.

With involvement by citizens like you and me, wonderful things can happen. Many policies in our country and state are the result of thousands, if not millions of Americans who worked together to bring change or achieve a new way of doing things.

Getting involved in advocacy has and will help maintain quality public higher education and research institutions while providing educational opportunities, accessibility, and affordability for all students.

Besides, advocacy is fun. There is lots of satisfaction when we use our collective Cougar pride and spread the good word about our university. We Cougs like to cheer on our football team, join the WSU Alumni Association, support our schools and colleges where we received our degree, and fondly remember our days on campus. As Cougs, we know there is tremendous exhilaration when WSU does well and a lot of fulfillment when we wear our crimson and gray to win the day. If volunteering to support adequate funding for higher education and having fun while doing it  is not enough to participate in the “take five” initiative, here are six more reasons to “take five” for WSU:

1. Gifts yes, and lending your voice is important too

A lot can be and has been accomplished by caring Cougs who support the university through gifts and annual donations. Yet the fact remains that WSU is a public, land grant institution that also depends on state and federal dollars to conduct teaching, research, and extension. Donations are critically important to the success of the institution, as is state and federal funding – they are complementary forms of support to help ensure the success of WSU. Cougs can use WSU Impact to help legislators know what WSU is doing to support communities, train and educate our citizens, and help solve world problems.

2. Advocacy has a role for everyone

Advocacy can take many forms. You can be an advocate for higher education and WSU by informing others, writing or calling your legislators, become more involved in WSU Impact, or helping in other ways. You can be as engaged and involved as you want in WSU ImpaButch taking actionct: all dedicated Cougs are welcomed. However you choose to volunteer, you make a difference.

3. Some issues require a broad spectrum of talent and skills

Declining state support of higher education has had consequences. To make up for the loss of adequate baseline funding, the legislature authorized tuition increases. This has made college increasingly expensive for families and created stress for many students. It impacts how universities educate students and conduct research.

The need for ordinary citizens like you and me to join forces with university leaders has never been higher. We can count on our university’s leadership to provide sophisticated and factual information to inform our legislators about issues important to higher education. Our best role as alumni or friends of the university is to share our individual stories to let our legislators know how we use our degree, why we love WSU, why we care about higher education and why it is personally important to us, and what we are doing to advance higher education and WSU given its role in society at large. Cougar alumni are one of the main “products” of WSU. Together, alumni serve as one of the long-term outcomes and indicators of success of WSU!

4. Government policies on higher education affects everyone

We value education. A well-educated citizenry is vital to our quality of life, finding a job and adapting to the marketplace, providing for our families, giving back to our communities, and ensuring a better future. Supporting higher education and WSU is a great investment and supports the public good.

5.  Democracy is not a spectator sport – Go Cougs!

In a democracy where every voice and vote count, choosing not to engage on issues or vote is by default, a political act. Being engaged with the issues and being active in the process helps assure that laws and budgets get passed that reflect your personal views, priorities, and wishes. A provocative sentiment from a seasoned advocate brings this point home:

 If you go to a restaurant just to read the menu you would be informed – but you would be missing the point of being in a restaurant. Ultimately, you have to decide what you want, what are willing to pay for it, and engage with the wait staff, chef, and others to help you get it.

That also applies to your role as a citizen in a democracy: being informed is not enough. You have to decide what you want from your government, what you are willing to pay for it, and engage with your legislators so they can help you get it. (Amidei, 2010)

6. Legislator are people too

Legislators are your neighbors. They have good and bad days and lead busy, hectic lives like all of us. They depend on you and me to constructively engage and share information and stories that help them understand the pulse of the district they represent. A legislator once shared with this author that he had to vote on an issue outside his personal experience and he had no real feeling for the consequences. He said he depended on constituents to share the human aspect of the issue. He explained he had all sorts of white papers, and facts and figures; what he didn’t have was the real-world examples and authentic stories of what the law would mean to individuals and families. I am sure he is not alone. Communicating with your legislators and sharing your personal story describing the importance of WSU and higher education is an excellent way to provide a new frame of reference for assessing the issue.

Please “take five” for WSU and higher education.  Log in and log on using your email and password to send your personal message to your legislators.

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