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Originally published Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 2:57 PM

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Recruiting alumni to champion UW

University of Washington alumni have created UW Impact as a resource to help promote the school in Olympia and around the state.

BOW down to Washington? Well, not so much lately in Olympia. The University of Washington's international renown and dazzling academic achievements have failed to impress lawmakers in the corridors of legislative power.

The university's glossy reputation and entrepreneurial capacity to attract outside resources have not won loyal support in the state budget wars.

University officials struggle to pitch the Huskies' role in educating students and helping power the state economy. Maybe they have come off as too insular or too smug or too entitled. More to the point, the competition for scarce resources has taken on a scary intensity.

One oversight has been corrected: the failure to purposefully involve the university's legions of alumni in telling the Husky story and making UW's presence felt in the state Capitol.

The solution is UW Impact, a creation of the University of Washington Alumni Association. The intention is to rally support for the university, tell the school's story around the state, and involve all those alums in selling the Huskies to local lawmakers and in Olympia.

UW Impact will be overseen by a 12-person Legislative Advisory Committee, and two paid political consultants — one Democrat and one Republican — will help guide the efforts.

The University of Washington is part of a higher-education system that is foundational to economic growth and progress. Recruiting those who know the school and benefited from the experience yields the best advocates of all.

UW Impact has the right ingredients to help remind us all of the school's role, record and potential.

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