Ocotber 20, 2008

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Making the message count

UUPers Paula Christy Heighton, left, Gladys Santiago-Tosado, center, and Jack Gendron, right, of SUNY Albany work on talking points during a role playing exercise at the union's Oct. 14 advocacy outreach training session at UUP's Latham offices.

UUP’s outreach advocacy training is the key to help the union spread the word statewide that SUNY is the solution in these tough economic times.

That’s the message that UUP President Phillip Smith and members of the union’s Outreach Committee sent to more than a dozen members from UAlbany, Delhi, Oneonta and Empire State College, who took part in an Oct. 14 outreach training session at UUP’s headquarters in Latham.

“I think the main message is that it’s wholly important for us to change the paradigm on the way we’ve done advocacy,” Smith said. “We must talk with legislators in our home districts. What we have to convey to them is that SUNY is a major economic force in New York.”

During the two-hour session, members focused on strategies to effectively bring the message about SUNY’s positive impact on its host communities and the state’s economy to local legislators in their home districts. Members such as Albany’s Gladys Santiago-Tosado, Jack Gendron and PaulaChristy Heighton took part in mock interview sessions with legislators.

With their training, UUPers can form coalitions with parents, students and local small business owners in their communities, bringing a strong message to legislators that SUNY is the answer, now more than ever.

“We need to fight together,” said Outreach Committee Chair Glenn McNitt. “It’s important to let everyone know how important this is. This isn’t somebody else’s problem.”

The Albany session was the fourth of five UUP outreach advocacy training sessions held since September. So far, more than 100 UUPers have taken part in the seminars. The union’s last session is scheduled from 5 to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 21) at the Charles B. Wang Center on the Stony Brook main campus.

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