Washington, DC – January 11, 2017
To my friends and colleagues:
I have a favor to ask you. Today, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published his 2017 “Wastebook,” complete with Pokémon-inspired cover artwork. This document is in keeping with a long tradition of the Senator’s efforts to highlight some of the most outlandish government expenditures. In this year’s report, Senator Flake included Becker College’s Massachusetts Digital Games Institute and commented that while “coming up with new concepts may literally be all fun and games, doing so should not be paid for by gaming the taxpayers.”
As is often the case, this unfortunate incident was most likely born out of misunderstanding.
Many continue to be unaware of the important jobs skills training work taking place at our schools and colleges, and don’t recognize the many contributions the video game industry is making to the country, our workforce and our economy. With this background, here is my ask: Please join me in responding to Senator Flake on Twitter, and encourage your staff and students to help correct the record.
Please find several suggested tweets below. I encourage you to share one or more of these across your own social platforms.
.@jeffflake says @Beckercollege video game program is wasteful but Princeton Review ranks it in Top 5. https://www.princetonreview.com/press/game-design-press-release #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake AZ is home to 40+ video game companies and 23 AZ colleges offer game programs. @beckercollege is in good company! #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake Video game programs at @beckercollege & 400+ U.S. schools aren’t wasteful – they’re training a high-skilled workforce #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake Here is a fact about higher ed video game programs: Grads make $24k MORE than average! #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake mentions video game programs in waste report but programs at 400+ colleges produce skilled workers #STEAMjobs
(And for those of you who aren’t fluent in Twitter, the period before @jeffflake is intentional – be sure to use it so he sees your message)
If your colleagues, your school and/or your students choose to address the issue in your own words, please advise them to keep their responses positive—we want to remain educational, not confrontational. And to help keep track of all the messages, be sure to tag @jeffflake and use #STEAMjobs in any tweets.
Thank you for your help in drawing attention to the cultural, scientific and economic importance of video game programs at our colleges and universities.
HEVGA’s mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources – including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage, and external funding – in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st century learning environment. For more information, visit hevga.org, like HEVGA on Facebook, or follow @HigherEdGames on Twitter.