A Cry for Help – Why I Answered (and your alumni will too!)

Posted on March 25, 2011 by

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I WAS WRONG!

Last week I received an email from the president of the PSU Alumni Association begging us Alumni for support.    The state proposed budget cuts would basically do away with in-state tuition and rob Penn State hopefuls of what I consider to be the best 4 years of my life.  So of course I answered the cry for help – I emailed my state legislators and sent PSU a big fat check.

If you’re not a Penn State Alum then you probably don’t care as much about this tragedgy as I do.  BUT!  There is a moral to my story.

A cry for help from a name I recognized with a specific call to action prompted my immediate response.

Isn’t this the response we are all hoping for?

Here is the email  I received from Roger Williams last week.  I’ve highlighted the pieces I found most compelling.  What can you learn from your peers?

Help keep the “state” in Penn State

Dear Penn Stater,

This week, Penn State learned that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal includes massive, unprecedented cuts in state funding for the University. The $182 million in proposed cuts to Penn State would be devastating to the University, its students, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The budget proposal has the potential to change the face of Penn State as you know it and to curtail the special relationship it has had with the Commonwealth for nearly 150 years. In other words, this budget proposal would push Penn State in the direction of privatization—which Penn State strongly opposes.

At a March 9 press briefing, Penn State President Graham Spanier said the cuts “could fundamentally change Penn State and our sister institutions in the state and have major negative impacts for the citizens of Pennsylvania and their families…. The direct impact of these cuts would be to undermine the support of in-state tuition for Pennsylvania resident-students.”

We are willing to do our fair share, but this is not our fair share,” Spanier said at the briefing.

“We are hopeful that our message will be heard in Harrisburg, and that they will understand the larger picture we’re talking about here,” Spanier continued. “We hope the members of the legislature, in consultation with the governor, will moderate substantially the scope of this cut.”

When former Gov. Ed Rendell tried to cut Penn State’s funding last year, arguing that Penn State was not a public institution, Penn State alumni rallied to support Penn State—and their voices made a big difference.

We’d like you, and all alumni, to rally again in support of our alma mater.

Please contact your state legislators and ask them to do everything they can to restore funding for Penn State at a level that allows it to maintain its in-state tuition rate and its 24 locations across the state.

In your note, please remind them that the state’s annual appropriation for Penn State helps Penn State:

  • continue to provide an in-state tuition rate;
  • maintain its many campuses across the state;
  • offer majors you often can’t find at other in-state schools;
  • keep up the quality of a Penn State education;
  • and boost the state economy.

You can find your state legislators via the Penn State Grassroots Network website and then use the site to e-mail them directly. You don’t have to be a Network member to use the site, but I also urge you to join the Grassroots Network and regularly raise your voice as an advocate for Penn State.

Finally, I invite you to be a part of Penn State Capital Day on April 5 in Harrisburg. Capital Day will bring together alumni and students to share with state legislators the importance of continued state support for the University and remind them of the many benefits Penn State brings to the Commonwealth.

Please sign up online for Capital Day and urge other alumni to take part. Thank you for your continued support of Penn State.

Roger L. Williams ’73, ’75g, ’88g
Executive Director

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