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Claiming Our Story: The Imperative for Higher Education
Claiming Our Story: The Imperative for Higher Education

4 Tips to Inspire Alumni Advocacy
Article,  BriefCASE Article Alumni can be your institution's most ardent advocates—if armed with the tools and support to do it, say participants in a recent Twitter chat.

Saving Sweet Briar
CURRENTS Article The inside story of how a scrappy group of passionate alumnae raised money, fought in the courts, and gathered support from community leaders to keep Sweet Briar College's doors open—and what advancement can learn from it

A Little Help from Their Friends
CURRENTS Article Today’s economic climate is accelerating the trend of institutions investing in alumni legislative advocacy. These programs typically follow one of two models: Grasstops advocacy, which engages targeted groups of alumni who have a personal connection with public officeholders, and grassroots advocacy, which involves the larger alumni body and mass communication efforts. Despite having somewhat different needs from their four-year, public counterparts, private colleges and universities, community colleges, and international institutions all can benefit from forging closer relationships between graduates and their elected representatives.

States of Emergency
CURRENTS Article Given the stakes and the current economic climate, U.S. higher education officials across the country are stepping up their advocacy efforts.

To the Rescue?
CURRENTS Article Faced with large and continued cuts in state funding, U.S. public postsecondary institutions are looking for new ways to both communicate their needs and garner support. This article discusses how they are calling on long-time supporters, enlisting new allies, developing strategic alliances, and crafting new messages and campaigns, all to underscore the importance of higher education.

The Art of Advocacy
CURRENTS Article As more state budgets are slashed, lobbying has taken on more prominence, with some campuses keeping lobbying firms on permanent retainer. States are being squeezed by health care, Medicaid, and K-12 costs on one side and a low-tax ideology on the other. The article looks at these and other related issues and what the government relations function looks like in this new political environment. The article gives an overview of the how the political and legislative climate is affecting higher education, and in turn, how campus government relations and advocacy functions are responding and changing.

Collaborative Programs: Penn State Alumni Association - Silver Medal
Best Practice The Penn State Grassroots Network works with network volunteers (mostly alumni) to communicate Penn State’s initiatives and needs to elected officials in state and federal government. In fall 2005, the network's "9.5=0" initiative successfully sought to increase Penn State's annual budget appropriation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Closing Remarks: States of Emergency
CURRENTS Article Even as federal and state dollars for U.S. higher education decline, for public institutions the proportion of public funding from all sources still exceeds that of private gifts. With that in mind, the author questions why public institutions spend so little time and money on state and federal government relations. Using alumni and donors as campus champions and understanding state and federal budget cycles are two strategies she suggests for improving government relations.

Alumni Advocates
CURRENTS Article As alumni relations officers are aware, alumni advocacy groups serve their campuses, and the larger community, in a variety of ways. Some groups seek to protect or increase state funding for their institutions, or address other campus issues. Others are organized by academic discipline or professional fields and work to advance relevant social issues; for example, an organization of law school graduates.

In Advance: When Bigger Isn't Better
CURRENTS Article Rather than trying to mobilize the masses, Georgia State University focuses its legislative advocacy efforts by engaging a select 60-member team called AlumNet.

Political Performance
CURRENTS Article As educational institutions have to fight harder for state and federal financial support, campuses are finding that their alumni volunteers can be some of their best advocates with legislators or provincial representatives. This is especially true in states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, where there are severe restrictions on professional lobbying activities.

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