District Dawg Spotlight

A Dawg in each district: Building a better future for the UW, one relationship at a time

Witnessing the devastating cuts first-hand helped spur Willynck’s interest in legislative advocacy. As an alum, he found an immediate option to channel his advocacy energy, and he became a District Dawg.

jean-paul-willynckDistrict Dawgs are UW Impact volunteers who channel their support of the UW and higher education to build relationships with local lawmakers. They stay informed on current issues affecting the UW and help educate their legislators, friends, neighbors and colleagues.

Willynck uses his student experience, and his perspective as an alum to help build a stronger future for our public institutions. As a student he was struck by a commonality he found in the UW community; a deep commitment to improving the lives of fellow citizens. He advocates for increased state support for higher education because he saw the way institutions like the UW are cultivating the ideas and research that can change the world.

“Our state government can, and should be [providing] the necessary funding to ensure that the University remains world class, and accessible to all residents regardless of socio-economic status and is reflective of our state’s diversity.”

Staying engaged on the big issues impacting higher education has been easy for Willynck, but he is struck by how easy it is to build relationships with lawmakers around the region. It can be as simple as meeting for coffee on a Saturday morning, he said.

“I was extremely excited to meet a legislator who not only thinks about higher education and its vital role in our society but who is also “just another guy” who I can sit down and have a conversation with,” said Willynck. “While we discussed higher education funding legislation, we also discussed the greater need for higher education in our society and how I personally benefitted from my own experience at the University.”

Creating meaningful connections between Husky constituents and their lawmakers is one way to advance public higher in Washington, and to ensure that a quality education remains an affordable reality for all current and future UW students.

Interested in becoming a District Dawg?