Universities collaborate on education campaign

Project started Apple Cup week, promoted on digital platforms



The “Yes, It’s Possible” campaign promotes the affordability of college to students in the state. The project has been mostly on digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

WSU and UW collaborated on the “Yes, It’s Possible” campaign aimed at promoting how affordable college can be for Washingtonians.

“Yes, there’s a rivalry on the field,” said Phil Weiler, WSU vice president of marketing and communications. “Fact of the matter is, 364 days of the year, we are great collaborators.”

The campaign is intended to spread the word about how all public colleges in Washington state can be affordable, including technical, community and other four-year colleges, said Victor Balta, UW senior director of media relations.

The campaign is mostly digital, using sites like Twitter, Facebook, Spotify and Pandora. It is also on some public radio stations, including a few Spanish language stations, Weiler said. It will also be in some Spanish language publications like El Mundo.

The universities are also reaching out to legislature members, he said.

The campaign started the week of the Apple Cup when the two university presidents got together and talked about the project, Weiler said.

More and more people are realizing they need to get not just a high school diploma, but a college degree, he said.

“Research is very clear that over your lifetime, that investment of a college degree pays off many-fold,” he said.

It is better to go to college right after graduating high school, Weiler said. There are fewer commitments to juggle such as a job or a family, so a degree is more likely to be completed in four years.

The campaign is aimed at both high school students and the people who influence them, he said. Influencers include parents, grandparents, teachers, members of their faith communities and high school advisers.

Weiler said the campaign also seeks to inform low- and middle-income families since some of these families do not think college is worth the investment.

That kind of thinking is how this whole campaign started. Weiler said he and a colleague were concerned about the fact that people are wondering whether a college degree is worth it, especially when there are many people graduating with six figures of debt.

“For undergraduates in the state of Washington,” Balta said, “almost half graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree and no student loan debt, and with those [who did], it was less than $24,000.”

Weiler said they want to emphasize that people should apply to public colleges and figure out financial aid because a public university does not cost as much as a private university.

“I think it’s important for Washingtonians to understand that the state legislature has been pretty generous with financial aid over the years,” he said. “Higher education is the economic engine that really drives the state.”