In April, we told you about the new Spartan Legislative Network, designed to promote the value of UNCG and public higher education to North Carolina elected officials. Earlier this week, it kicked off with a press conference and stirring words by Michael Garrett '07, president-elect of the Alumni Association. To join the network and have your voice heard, visit Spartanadvocacy.info. Read Garrett's speech below:
Good morning. As a 2007 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro I could not be more honored than to stand before this community and North Carolina as a representative of our diverse and inspiring alumni.
There are serious challenges ahead for our association, as well as our university and state. Clearly, we are all getting to experience the much anticipated global economy. At times these challenges could seem so intimidating that we find ourselves slipping into a state of self-defense. If we sense this happening we simply must look to the history of the institution we represent. It is a rich history made up of those individuals who have come before us and the legacy they leave. That legacy offers all of the strength and ingenuity we could ever need.
The name of this university may have changed, but the values, the lessons, the character always remained the same. The alumni that have walked in the footsteps of the historical figures who have come before us understand the expectation of self-improvement is not for the sake of being better than others… but so we may serve others! This institution and its faculty, staff, students and alumni have served this state, nation and world in extraordinary and selfless ways.
Yesterday it was our alumnae of the Woman's College who stood up and stood strong to propel the civil rights movement, to use their voice and their lives to ensure minorities had the same rights as every other citizen of this country. Yesterday it was the women of the Woman's College who shattered glass ceiling after glass ceiling to fight for women's rights in the workplace and in our communities.
Today it's the nursing student who takes on substantial personal debt to pursue his dream of caring for our most vulnerable neighbors and the student committed to becoming a teacher who will touch the lives of generations to come. Maybe it's the business student committed to entering the world as an entrepreneur who will create jobs and help solve our nation's greatest challenges.
Tomorrow is unclear … but tomorrow is our responsibility!
Our state's commitment to education is inscribed and expressed in the North Carolina constitution. However we can not rely on that alone the alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, community leaders, plus the greater community must all partner together to demonstrate our united commitment to the value of a quality education.
We all understand that a world-class education system in North Carolina ensures our schools have the best and brightest teachers, that our citizens have access to the best and most affordable health care and that employers can invest in North Carolina and take advantage of our skilled and talented workforce. How many people do you know who chose North Carolina as an educational resource and stayed to participate in making this a better state, to create ideas, resources and businesses?
The Spartan Legislative Network is a partnership a coalition of those of us who believe in these principles and are committed to these values. Our Network will strive to educate, persuade and inform our State's leaders to the extraordinary value the taxpayers of North Carolina receive from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. We have work to do in our own backyard. Greensboro, Guilford County, and Central North Carolina benefit greatly from this institution. We must educate our own community on the extraordinary endeavors being undertaken every day by our students, faculty and staff that contribute directly to improving the lives of our citizens.
It is imperative the Spartan Legislative Network build a strong, vibrant and dynamic network across North Carolina. Only then can we guarantee a strong, sustainable base of support for our university and higher education.
We believe by engaging the more than 100,000 members of our Association, our faculty, our staff, our students, our friends, our community and our leaders, we can restore UNC Greensboro's rightful place as one of the three flagship institutions of the UNC system. We will take UNCG's story across this state from the mountains to the coast, spreading the word through community presentations, networking with guidance counselors, road shows with influential community groups like Rotary, and implementing a strategic plan to leverage the power of social media. Additionally, we will organize and coordinate Spartan Legislative Network trips to Raleigh and DC to visit with our leaders and make sure they are fully aware and understand the return on investment UNCG is providing to the taxpayers of North Carolina.
It is our belief, the Alumni Association of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, that we must build a network of strong partners and advocates to ensure a prosperous future for UNCG, North Carolina and future generations.
Now is our time to Do something bigger altogether.