The Wisconsin Alumni Association will invite University of Wisconsin alumni and supporters to meet with lawmakers on Wednesday’s “UW-Madison Day” in advance of Wisconsin’s biennial budget.

The virtual event will begin at noon with an introduction from UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank and a panel discussion with legislators. Small group discussions with state legislatures will be hosted following these presentations.

UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in an email statement to The Badger Herald the voices of community members are significant in supporting UW amidst state budget deliberations.

“They reinforce that UW-Madison has a statewide impact and the impact is not exclusively felt in Dane County,” McGlone said. “They serve as a reminder that our graduates and alumni live and work in all 72 counties in Wisconsin.”

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Though the university implemented significant cost reduction measures, McGlone said the pandemic dealt an unprecedented financial blow to UW operations. Currently, the projected fiscal impact to UW from the COVID-19 pandemic is approximately $319 million, according to McGlone’s statement.

As a part of the 2021-23 state budget request, UW is asking for a 3.5% operating budget increase. Key priorities for the budget include two capital projects to construct a new College of Engineering building and a Letters & Science Academic Building, in addition to borrowing flexibilities to accommodate financial hits from COVID-19.

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An investment in infrastructure and campus buildings is critical to the future of the campus and future growth for the university, McGlone said.

“Increased state support will help maintain UW–Madison’s quality and standing, while gaining borrowing flexibilities would enable us to weather future financial shocks and recover more quickly,” McGlone said.

McGlone also said in her statement UW is seeking a renewed, ongoing long-term investment in the UW System and in the university to cover losses from the pandemic and uphold educational quality.

There is no cost to attend the virtual UW-Madison Day but registration is required.