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UC's statewide tour heads to Davis — city and campus

9.27.2012

By Dateline staff

Onward California

Video (36 sec)

Videography by UC Office of the President

UC’s Onward California tour comes to Davis — the city and the campus — next week, to show how the university is changing lives for the better, in ways that many people might not realize.

In the food we eat, for example, and the health care we receive. In technologies that make our lives easier. And in graduating students who are the first in their families to earn degrees.

“This tour brings the university to Californians in their own communities and gives them the opportunity to engage with UC in a new and unexpected way,” said Dan Dooley, UC senior vice president for External Relations. “We hope that building understanding of how UC contributes to the daily lives of all Californians will further strengthen public appreciation and support for the mission of public higher education in our state.”

UC officials said the tour is supported by private funds that were not intended for academic uses.

The tour, complete with brightly colored truck, began in mid-September and runs for six weeks, taking in all of the campuses, plus county fairs and places like Venice Beach and shopping malls. The schedule includes two stops in Davis:

Wednesday, Oct. 3 — Davis Farmers Market, Central Park, 3rd and C streets, 4:30-8:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 4 — East Quad, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., amid Davis Chamber on the Quad, the annual event where Davis businesses introduce themselves to the campus community. (Davis Chamber Day on the Quad runs from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Fun and interactive, and photos, too

The Onward California truck should be easy to find — painted as it is in yellow, orange, blue and pink pastels. Think food truck, without the food (although visitors can get free gelato; see separate story).

Educational displays will be set up around the truck, allowing visitors to learn about the university in a fun, interactive way. Not only that, but people will be encouraged to share personal stories about how the university has touched their lives.

You can make a sign declaring your support for UC, and the Onward California crew will take your picture while you’re holding your sign. Gunrock will join the Onward California tour on the Quad — so you can have your picture taken with him, too.

The crew also will be asking people to sign up as UC advocates and to send postcards of support.

'UC plays a part in your day'

The tour is an extension of a campaign that is bringing the UC story to newspapers and the Internet in a big way. Ads show how “UC has probably played a part in your day,” while videos show a variety of research efforts.

Earlier this year, UC President Mark G. Yudof spoke to civic groups, business associations and local leaders around California about the difference the university makes, even in places without a campus or medical center.

Educating Californians about the value of UC has become increasingly important amid the state’s continued disinvestment in higher education. State funding has dropped significantly, nearly $1 billion in the last four years alone.

UC now operates with the same level of state funding as it did in 1997-98, despite serving 73,000 more students.

Hoping to hold the line on tuition

The university has responded by cutting budgets and raising tuition. For 2012-13, though, the state budget offers sufficient funding whereby UC can hold the line on fees.

That is, if the state’s voters approve Proposition 30 in the Nov. 6 election. The measure, put forth by Gov. Jerry Brown, would boost the personal income tax on annual earnings in excess of $250,000 for seven years, and add a quarter-cent to the sales and use tax for four years, with the revenue designated for K-12 education and community colleges.

The Board of Regents has endorsed Prop. 30, knowing that if it fails, UC stands to lose $250 million in state funds in 2012-13 and $125 million the year after that.

And there would be no holding the line on tuition, with Yudof saying Prop. 30’s failure would result in an increase in January, perhaps by as much as 20 percent (about $2,400).

Prop. 30 opponents argue that the measure would raise sales and income taxes on all Californians, not just the wealthy; would harm small businesses; and would not actually provide new funding for schools.

$46 billion boost to the economy

Yudof and others say UC’s importance to California cannot be understated. The university generates roughly $46.3 billion in economic activity, and leverages state funding to bring in $8.5 billion in federal and private dollars every year.

Bottom line: Every $1 the California taxpayer invests in UC and its students results in $9.80 in gross state product and $13.80 in overall economic output.

Not to mention the groundbreaking research in agriculture and food safety, biotechnology, digital media, telecommunications, digital media, telecommunications, computers and semiconductors, and environmental technologies.

UC holds more patents than any other U.S. university, and counts more than 500 start-up companies based on UC inventions.

Some 235,000 students attend UC each year, and the university’s medical schools train about half the medical residents and medical students in the state.

Faculty and staff number about 190,000, making UC the state’s third-largest employer.

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