On March 8, UW alumni voices were heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill.
UW Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., brought together Badger alumni from around the nation for a breakfast with members of Congress followed by meetings in individual congressional offices.
At the breakfast, vice chancellor, Charlie Hoslet, and WAA managing director for state relations, Mike Fahey, introduced an extensive list of speakers which included representatives Jim Jordan ’86 (R-OH), Glenn Grothman ’77, JD’83 (R-WI), Mark Pocan ’86 (D-WI), Bill Foster ’76 (D-IL), and Gwen Moore (D-WI) as well as UW College of Agricultural and Life Sciences dean, Kate VandenBosch. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was also on hand to meet with alumni.
After the breakfast, Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) staff members were able to connect 50 UW alumni with 22 different congressional offices. The Badger advocates focused their communications with congressional staffers on two major areas—the Perkins Loan Program and federally funded research.
With the Perkins Loan Program set to expire on September 30 of this year, UW alumni asked their representatives to extend this program that supports the neediest of students. More than 500,000 students depend on Perkins loans, including 3,500 at UW–Madison. The federal government has not contributed to this self-funded program in more than a decade. A loss of this program would be devastating to thousands of students and their families. Mark Pocan (D-WI) will be introducing an extension bill soon.
UW alumni asked their representatives for their continued their support for federally funded research. Federally funded research at the UW has helped fight everything from Alzheimer’s to Zika. UW–Madison is a premier research institution, ranking in the top six in total research dollars among U.S. universities since 1972. UW researchers compete against other top researchers for federal research dollars. It’s a process that requires faculty to be innovative and entrepreneurial.
In addition to those issues, alumni emphasized that public universities such as UW–Madison are economic engines, preparing highly skilled professionals for the workforce and producing enormous economic activity for their states. And, as part of the day’s activities, UW–Madison political science interns stationed in Washington, D.C., helped to deliver Wisconsin-themed goodie bags to 83 UW alumni who work on Capitol Hill.
The alumni who participated made a big impact on the members of Congress. WFAA will be leading another lobby day on April 12 in Madison. Learn more about this opportunity to influence Wisconsin legislators.
And, if you’d like to stand up for your university right now, visit the UW alumni advocacy page and start contacting your elected officials. Tell them that you would like to see continued federal funding of important research at public universities, and let them know you support an extension to the Perkins Loan Program.