When I travel around the state, I try to schedule time to visit with Wisconsin businesses, public officials, community partners, and alumni. These conversations are a great way to learn more about the many ways the Wisconsin Idea touches communities all over our state – and it’s a great opportunity to talk about UW as well. We have faculty and staff from our campus working on everything from manufacturing innovation to helping dairy farmers find success in a tough market.
This is a budget year, which means we’ll be making special efforts to remind citizens across Wisconsin of the value that this flagship university brings to their community. For instance, did you know we were the largest employer in the state? The state provides only 14% of our revenue. We generate over $7 in revenue for every one dollar provided by the state, and a substantial part of that comes from sources outside the state, through out-of-state tuition dollars, federal research funding, and alumni gifts. That means the university drives employment and economic growth that would not otherwise occur. If you want the state to thrive, you want UW-Madison to thrive!
In addition to these larger economic effects, we have programs and outreach efforts everywhere in the state that reflect our ongoing commitment to the Wisconsin Idea. And the addition of Cooperative Extension and Wisconsin Public TV and Wisconsin Public Radio as part of UW-Madison adds even more to the story of how the university reaches every part of the state.
Over the next few months we will be telling more of these stories using the theme “UW Changes Lives” to show all of the ways the work done at UW-Madison changes lives and powers the Wisconsin economy.
The campaign started this month with the theme of health care. Whether it’s helping communities tackle diabetes, doing research to help stop the spread of diseases from ticks and mosquitoes, giving veterans the tools they need to manage COPD, or training more nurses and pharmacists to address shortages in rural areas, UW-Madison improves the health of residents across the state of Wisconsin. You can read more about those stories in the February edition of our Wisconsin Ideas newsletter here.
In March, we will highlight all the ways our campus is committed to improving the lives of Wisconsin residents by providing an affordable world class education through programs like Bucky’s Tuition Promise. Our many partnerships with agriculture, the agricultural innovations that have come from UW, and the work done by Extension will be highlighted in April. Our research helps farmers across the state, while county extension agents bring that work to farmers and local ag producers. In May, we will showcase our educational contributions, highlighting our importance to the state’s workforce and to Wisconsin’s ability to attract employers who want highly-skilled workers. June will bring stories illustrating the many business partnerships we have around the state.
You can find these stores at impact.wisc.edu and by searching the #UWChangesLives hashtag on Twitter. I invite you to share these stories widely and help us show Wisconsin residents the many ways that UW changes lives.