- Author: Wendy Powers
A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Washington, D.C. attending the APLU meeting with several people for UC ANR and the UC campuses as well as the UC ANR CARET representatives. I have to say, photo ops with politicians is not my thing but it was really fun to spend some time with UC ANR's impressive CARET representatives and hear what our work means to them. Equally exciting was to see Clare Gupta, Lorrene Ritchie and Gabe Youtsey talk about their work. Lorrene and I were paired together a fair bit throughout the day and a half of hill visits so I was able to see firsthand her exceptional ability to connect with staffers; she was amazing! I've already nominated her to participate again next year! Not only did I learn a lot just observing her in action, but I was able to hear Lorrene talk about NPI's work around the state and the impact it has for communities and families. This week I met Dani Lee for the first time, one of the newest members of NPI. Hopefully I will get over to meet the rest of the team soon.
You can imagine that after spending that time in D.C. talking about UC ANR efforts, how disappointing it was to return only to learn of the proposed ‘skinny budget' which proposes a 21% reduction to USDA funding. This certainly illustrates the importance of highlighting the impact of our work on food security, community vitality, natural resource protection and youth development every day, not just for 1+ day in early March. That's the purpose of Goal 15 in the strategic plan – help people understand the positive impacts we have and not be the best kept secret. Now more than ever we need to constantly communicate our impacts in a way that people can relate to even if they aren't directly tied to our programs. And, I believe, the more we can aggregate our impacts across programs to some common indicator that many, many people can relate to the better off we will be. This will be part of the conversation when we hold regional information sessions this summer to share plans for executing the strategic plan, particularly goal 5. Dates and locations are still in planning phase but I will keep you posted and I am sure something will come out in the ANR Update. In addition, there's some work planned with statewide program and institute directors plus the strategic initiative leaders for mid-May to get that conversation started. Just like I learned a ton of new things during my travels the past couple of weeks, I look forward to learning from this group of directors/leaders.
For now though, I need to get back to catching up on some things, including a couple of manuscript reviews I forgot I had promised to complete last week. Not to mention my Crucial Conversations training reading assignment that I had planned to complete by now….