Next month the Penn State Grassroots Network will be 10 years old. So "Happy Birthday" to the Network! And many thanks to the thousands of Network volunteers who do all the work and make the Network a very effective advocacy group!
I wasn't present at the creation, but the Network was formally launched in November 2003 when an email invitation to join was sent to thousands of Penn State alumni.
Over the years, the number of Network members has grown to nearly 35,000, and the Network has helped thousands of alumni and other friends of Penn State reach out to their elected officials, created a major award program, sponsored scores of events, and – most important of all -- helped Penn State stay strong and affordable.
Here are just a few facts and figures related to Network initiatives.
n Over the years, the Network’s most active 2,500 volunteers have sent an estimated 20,000 messages to elected officials, telling their Penn State stories and requesting support for Penn State.n The Friend of Penn State legislative award, launched in 2006, has honored eight state legislators and two members of Congress.
n Since 2010, the Network has joined forces with alumni and Penn State student government groups to organize Penn State Capital Day. The annual event has brought together more than 1,000 volunteers to rally in the state Capitol building in Harrisburg and to meet one-on-one with their elected officials.
n In 2006, the Network received a national award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education for its “9.5 = 0” initiative, which supported a 9.5 percent increase in the state appropriation for Penn State in return for a zero percent tuition increase at Penn State’s 19 undergraduate campuses.
There's more to tell, but the rest will keep until the Network's monthly information update comes out in November and the Penn State Alumni Association's AlumnInsider e-newsletter runs a story about the Network's 10-year anniversary.
For the uninitiated, the Network’s main goal is to help Penn State secure a healthy annual appropriation from the state, which helps the University preserve the substantial “tuition discount” for Pennsylvania resident students, keep tuition increases as low as possible, keep its educational programs strong, and provide a first-rate and affordable education at its regional campuses.
Once again, thanks to the many volunteers who have made the Network a success and have helped keep Penn State strong and affordable!