What Springs to Mind This March?

Woods image

“Come with me into the woods where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.”                             

                      —Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver’s poem “Bazougey” is an elegy for a beloved pet. Yet this one-sentence observation in the middle of the poem deftly captures the arrival of spring in a difficult moment.

 For champions of the arts and sciences on campuses and in communities, that line can also speak to the arrival of another harbinger of spring: state and federal budget advocacy. It’s a “forever gift” that comes “no matter what” and requires supporters to become “certainly visible” during the process.  

At the state level, initial data from the latest Grapevine Report on State Fiscal Support for Higher Education offer reasons for optimism. Support for higher education in fiscal year 2022 increased 8.5 percent over 2021, reversing funding cuts from the pandemic-induced recession. If your state raised funding, it is essential for constituents to send a gracious thank-you to legislators in acknowledgment. Only seven states continue to report a decline in funding support between 2020 and 2022: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, New Hampshire, and Wyoming. If you live in one of these states, please ask your legislator to restore funding with samples at toolkit.pbk.org/resources.

On the other hand, federal budget advocacy for the arts and sciences poses unique challenges for many reasons. The government is currently operating on its third continuing resolution. Unfortunately, Congress may not enact the FY22 funding increases proposed for higher education, the nation’s cultural endowments, and scientific research priorities for some time. Nevertheless, advocates will also need to develop funding requests for FY23 spring advocacy days that typically take place in March and April.

Fortunately, the Society is pleased to welcome a new addition to the national office team to help with early spring efforts. Delainey Boyd recently joined the Society as the new National Arts & Sciences Initiative associate after receiving her master’s degree from George Washington University in education policy. Previously, Boyd worked on the staff of U.S. Representative (and ΦBK member) Lizzie Fletcher, where her portfolio included the National Endowment for the Humanities. In her new role, Boyd will provide administrative and programmatic support for awareness-raising events, a national engagement campaign, the Key into Public Service scholarship program, state and federal policy advocacy, and coordination with national partners to amplify the impact of our work. 

If you aren’t familiar with the work of the National Arts & Sciences Initiative at the Society, come into the woods with us. 

  • Sign up for our monthly State of the Arts & Sciences action alert on the Society’s homepage
  • Get weekly tips, suggestions, and higher education news through #ToolkitTuesday posts on the Society’s Twitter feed
  • Find evergreen resources on the value of liberal arts and sciences education at toolkit.pbk.org
  • Email the National Arts & Sciences Initiative team with any questions about our work at advocacy@pbk.org