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Sacramento staff show UCOP how to stand up for UC

Do you ever find yourself so upset about something that you resolve to write your representatives and give them a piece of your mind?

Larry Salinas of UC’s Office of State Governmental Relations (SGR) encouraged UCOP staff to do just that on behalf of UC at a Feb. 23 brown bag on the university’s advocacy efforts. The event was cosponsored by the OP Staff Assembly and the Office of External Relations.

Salinas is associate director of Institutional Relations and Advocacy in UC’s Sacramento office, where 11 staff work to advance UC’s interests to the state’s elected officials and state agencies on legislation, budget and other matters.

SGR Advocacy Coordinator Kate Daby-Horpendahl and Executive Communications Coordinator Donna Hemmila joined Salinas to provide a primer in advocacy for UCOP staff interested in helping UC get its message across.

Like UC’s Federal Governmental Relations office in D.C., the SGR office analyzes legislation and writes position papers on bills that affect the university’s interests. It works closely with staff liaisons at each campus and medical center and sponsors events to spotlight the critical importance of the university to the state.

“What we do is not new; we do this every day to advance the interests of our most important stakeholders, the students of UC,” Salinas said, describing the SGR’s work on behalf of the university.

SGR sponsors and keeps track of advocacy events throughout the year, like the upcoming March 14 Graduate Research Day, on which it collaborates with the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The goal is to showcase graduate students’ individual research and demonstrate the value graduate research adds to California’s social fabric and economy.

Having lost $750 million in state support last year – that’s a 25 percent cut – UC depends more than ever before on its grassroots advocacy efforts.

So what can you do to help? You can join the UC for California Advocacy Network, nearly 600,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees who know firsthand how much UC improves the quality of life for all Californians. They keep up with legislation that could affect UC and voice their opinions to elected officials, attend SGR events in Sacramento and post comments to UC’s facebook and Twitter pages (see below). You can also sign up to get notices about upcoming legislative actions and UC advocacy events.

If you do join the effort, one caveat: Best practices dictate that, as a UC employee, you engage in any advocacy activity in your private capacity, outside of working hours and using your own personal email account.

To get started, check out the following resources:

  • UC for California: This hub for UC’s Advocacy Network, also known as UC for CA, provides a crash course in Advocacy 101, complete with tips on how to communicate with your legislators; Resources, including fact sheets and talking points; and a “take action” template that makes it easy to send a message to your elected representative.
  • Economic Impact: Did you know that UC generates $46.3 billion in annual economic activity for California? Economic Impact is a handy online booklet full of similar facts that you can use to spread the word about the contributions UC campuses, medical centers and labs make to the state’s economy every day.
  • UC for CA social media pages: Catch up on what other advocates are saying or join the conversation yourself on UC for CA’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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