What can I do to help?

Jim Johnsen

Feb. 26, 2019

Dear UA Colleagues –

“What can I do to help?!” That’s the question I hear repeatedly as I advocate for our university with business leaders in Anchorage, legislators in Juneau, community members in Fairbanks, and faculty, staff, and supporters everywhere. Your concern and willingness to support the University of Alaska is so appreciated. Thank you!

Right now, the most important thing you can do is to talk to others – your friends, neighbors, colleagues, legislators, or to anyone who asks – about why the university is important to you and to the future of our state.

  • Share your personal story and your own UA experiences. Talk about how UA has improved your life, your career, your family, your community, your business.
  • Spread the word through your personal networks and tell them:
  •  A 41 percent budget cut will devastate UA.
  • That cut is on top of cuts taken in 4 out of the last 5 years.
  • UA already has cut over 1,200 employees and reduced dozens of programs.
  • UA has a compelling plan that creates opportunity for Alaskans and drives economic growth. That plan includes over 30 fully on-line programs, research that contributes to our economy, workforce training in high demand fields, and dual enrollment opportunities for college ready high schoolers.
  • UA has a positive vision for Alaska and is committed to helping Alaskan create the state we want.
  • If UA’s budget is cut again, the positive experience you’ve had with UA won’t be there for others in the future.

I’ll have more details about our statewide advocacy efforts soon. In the meantime, activities are already underway:

  • I’m engaging directly with influential business and community leaders for their support, and meeting personally with legislators and participating directly in the budget process.
  • We are working closely with others negatively impacted by the proposed budget cuts.
  • We are developing a privately funded effort to get our word out across the state.
  • Factsheets and talking points are being developed for your use. They are posted at: https://alaska.edu/govrelations/advocacy/
  • Look for regular Capitol Reports on important progress and developments in Juneau. You can sign up here to start receiving them. If you have signed up but aren’t receiving these, please check your spam filter.
  • The Board of Regents will discuss the budget at its board meeting February 28-March 1. My presentation to the board can be found at www.alaska.edu/bor.

We will continue to update information and resources on our Government Relations website as our campaign picks up steam, so please keep looking for new resources there.

You’ll find a network of fellow supporters at #supportUA, and of course you can follow real-time developments through social media @UA_System, @UA_GovRelations and on the UA Facebook page. Share the social media posts with your network so we can extend the conversation with a broader range of Alaskans.

There is much more to be done, but with your help we have a great start. Thank you for your continued support and for all that you do for this university.

Jim Johnsen