Day of advocacy

Carolina Day Jan. 30 demonstrates support for university

Faculty, staff, alumni and students are invited to participate Jan. 30 in Carolina Day, an annual one-day event focused on communicating to legislators the importance of state support for the University of South Carolina.

Following the lead of last year’s successful event, social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, will be the primary tools for advocating on behalf of the university. Supporters can access an online messaging toolkit to choose a message to share with legislators on social media, using the hashtag #UofSCImpact.

“The unified voice of our alumni advocating in support of higher education in the state of South Carolina is a really powerful thing,” says Elizabeth Muth, interim executive director of the My Carolina Alumni Association. “The personal relationships that our alumni have with their legislators are invaluable to our advocacy efforts in support of our alma mater.”

This year, university leadership is calling for passage of a bipartisan bill called the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which would restore funds to higher education institutions and provide more opportunity for South Carolina students to earn degrees. The bill would use new revenue generated by internet retail sales to reinvest more than $125 million into public colleges, and reward colleges for enrolling more in-state students with additional funding. Lack of state funding in recent years is one reason for the recent increase in out-of-state student enrollment.

The bill would also freeze tuition for in-state students for one year and slow tuition growth for Palmetto State students in future years. In addition, the Higher Education Opportunity Act would modernize the state’s scholarship offerings by ensuring the sustainability of the current merit-based scholarships program while focusing more state resources on assisting students with financial need.

The bill would also establish reliable funding to repair aging and crumbling campus facilities, infrastructure and equipment on public college campuses. Duplicative and costly red tape and state regulation of public colleges would be curtailed while still maintaining proper oversight of the state’s higher education establishment.

University President Harris Pastides has hailed the bill as “the most significant step forward in higher education policy in more than a decade.”

Visit the Carolina Day website to learn more about advocating on behalf of the university on Carolina Day.

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