UNH Works program looks to restore budget

By Adam J. Babinat
On November 16, 2012

For months now, University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston and other members of the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) board of trustees have been advocating for the New Hampshire House of Representatives to restore funding it cut in 2011 to UNH and other universities within USNH.

One way that university officials have been pushing for this restoration in funding is through a campaign entitled UNH Works, which asks for students, faculty, staff and parents to talk to their local representatives in order to garner support for UNH. Unfortunately for the administration, the campaign is relatively unknown to the UNH student body.

"I have never heard of [UNH Works]," said Marisa Milone, a freshman English major.

In fact, out of several students polled about the campaign, very few had actually even heard of UNH Works.

According to Mica Stark, special assistant to Huddleston for government relations, the university has been working with campus publications - such as UNH Today and UNH Campus Journal - to make the student body more aware of the effort.

According to Stark, so far 1,400 individuals from more than 170 towns and cities have advocated for the UNH Works campaign. In addition, Stark said that both the UNH graduate and undergraduate student senates have been reached out to in order to help support the effort.

"We will continue to work with the student organizations as well as The New Hampshire to publicize the effort," Stark said in an email. "The student senate created a UNH Works committee and will be initiating various programs and communications to engage more students through the coming months."

The basis for the UNH Works campaign - also entitled "Higher Education Works for New Hampshire" by the USNH board of trustees - is that UNH and the other public universities in the state contribute a significant amount of money to the state's economy, and therefore support should be given so that these universities can continue to offer quality education.

According to UNH's media relations department, the university contributes more than $1.4 billion every year to New Hampshire's economy. This includes $791 million through revenue, employment and spending.

Huddleston made it clear during his State of the University address on Oct. 11 that this is a significant contribution to a state that offers little support.

"Does it make sense that a relatively well-off state like New Hampshire, whose greatest resources are its skilled workers and its innovation-driving colleges and universities, should slash support for higher education?" Huddleston said during the address.

At that same address, Huddleston also noted that this sort of campaign was unprecedented for UNH.

"This campaign is new ground for us," Huddleston said.

According to Huddleston and Starks, one promise that the USNH board of trustees has made is that, if their budget is restored, it will impose a two-year freeze for in-state tuition and a dramatic increase in the financial aid of students.

For students looking to learn about the UNH Works campaign, visit www.unh.edu/works.

By Adam J.

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