September 12, 2011

Seattle Times launches campaign to garner support for public universities

News and Information

The Seattle Times has just launched a year-long public education campaign aimed at reinforcing public understanding of the positive contributions that the states six four-year public universities  bring to Washingtons citizens by enhancing job creation and the quality of life.

Dubbed “The Greater Good Campaign,” it will feature a series of print and online advertisements that, according to the Times, will build awareness “that public higher education should not be seen as a personal privilege for individual students, but that the states higher education system provides a much broader public good….”

“High quality public education – including at the university level – is essential in a free and economically viable society,” said Frank Blethen, publisher of the Times. “It is essential if Washington state is to come out of the great recession as one of the winners. Our hope, in building strong public awareness of the broader public good of our higher ed system, is that citizens will actively engage in advocating for stable higher education funding as among the highest state budget priorities.

“State disinvestment in our universities,” added Blethen, “is eroding job creation and damaging  our economy. At the University of Washington alone, every dollar invested creates $22 in economic activity and $1.48 in tax revenue.”

The state budget has increased 250% over the past 20 years, but the states investment in higher education actually decreased in real dollars over that same period. Times officials say that a major point of the campaign is that in the current uncertain economic times, the best public investment the state legislature can make is in the states public universities:  stable funding is necessary for job creation and future economic vitality.

“We are very pleased to see this effort to raise public awareness of the public universities role in making Washington a great place to live and work,” said President Michael Young. “Given the real threat of deeper cuts to higher education, the timing of this campaign could not be better nor its importance greater. The civic-minded sponsors are to be commended for their leadership in seeking a brighter future for all Washingtonians.”

Co-sponsors of the campaign include The Bellevue Collection, Safeco, Davis Wright Tremaine, Rowley Properties, and Microsoft. More information is available at http://seattletimescompany.com/greatergood.