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‘Better UW Initiative’ is launched at UWRF

March 11, 2015

The “Better UW Initiative” has been launched on campuses throughout the UW System, including UW-River Falls, by the UW System Representatives in reaction to Gov. Scott Walker’s $300 million budget cut proposal.

The goal of the Better UW Initiative is to reduce the magnitude of proposed cuts to the UW System, implement a fixed undergraduate resident tuition cap in the State Statute, preserve efficiencies in the proposed UW System Authority, and maintain shared governance in State Statute, according to the UW System Representatives website.

Facebook page for Better UW Initiative.
The Better UW Initiative’s outreach includes a Facebook page.

The Better UW Initiative focuses on involving students, families and taxpayers in the advancement toward a more efficient UW System due to the lack of state support.

The UW System Representatives is a body made up of the presidents, vice presidents, and other campus members of all 26 schools in the UW System.

Brady Murphy, the campaign leader for the Better UW Initiative at UWRF, said that getting the word out about the initiative to a large number of students has been off to a difficult start but there are a lot of strategies currently in place to get people talking, including hosting tables in the University Center and creating pamphlets to hand out to students.

Murphy emphasized the importance of starting discussions about the initiative among students at UWRF, and said he plans to schedule meetings for students to attend throughout the semester.

“I think it’s a very crucial step to allow students to come to these discussions, talk to myself, faculty members, or students who are very well-versed on what’s going on in Madison right now, and just ask questions because the best thing a student can do right now is to know what’s going on,” Murphy said.

Daniel Saunders, the student organizer for the Better UW Initiative, said in an email interview that he hopes to get as many students informed about the budget as possible.

“If a student will be affected by the cuts, they should know,” Saunders said. “Whether it be from adding a semester because of a dropped class or because their minor or major is dropped.”

Murphy said he believes there is a thought process that one vote won’t make a difference in the outcome, but he begs to differ.

“The UW System is made up of thousands upon thousands of students and we represent a very strong learning community and it’s only when everyone is well-versed enough to know what it is that they are trying to decide on, that those votes will really matter and Madison will have to react to what it is that students want in these learning communities,” Murphy said.

In order to have a greater impact on the way the proposal is voted on, Murphy said he encourages students to reach out to their government representatives and tell them how they feel.

“We have a very strong campus with very passionate people here and I believe that with the empowering knowledge that can give, it’s going to be out of my hands pretty soon here and I am absolutely excited to see what students at this campus want to do with their future,” Murphy said.

There will be a statewide day of action at UWRF on April 2, and Murphy encourages students to go into the Student Senate office in the University Center to lodge their own ideas about what they want to see happen at the event.

For more information about the Better UW Initiative and updates about the budget cuts, visit www.uwreps.com/better-uw.html or visit the Better UW Initiative Facebook page.