By Andrew Bahl and Madeline Heim of the Daily Cardinal
The Wisconsin Idea is widely considered to be a testament to the importance of public service. Its spirit is widely cited in bettering the lives of Wisconsinites in areas as diverse as the formulation of labor law to best practices in milking dairy cows.
But the university’s reach is not just civic—it is financial as well. In fact, the Wisconsin Idea even began in part as a way to ensure that the knowledge from state universities would be a way to for citizens to exercise power in their economy. UW-Madison is credited with generating an estimated $15 billion in statewide economic activity in 2015 and many of its programs are considered vital in producing the next generation of the state’s doctors, engineers and scientists.
The economic impact of the university is so great that businesses in Madison and beyond find themselves on the frontlines, lobbying lawmakers against corroding a powerful engine that drives a range of industries across the state.
Some say that this economic power, and the subsequent agency the university grants Wisconsinites to exert over their economy, has been diminished by cuts to state funding for the UW System. This has heightened the stakes surrounding the current budget biennium, and business and trade organizations are trying to make their voice heard.
For more, read the Daily Cardinal article, here.