University of Connecticut students can now support a grassroots campaign that aims to rally support around Connecticut’s bid to bring Amazon’s secondary headquarters in North America to the state.
According to Amazon’s official press release, the company plans to spend $5 billion to construct a secondary headquarters that will bring 50,000 high-paying office jobs. Amazon announced on Sept. 7 that they will entertain proposals from states and cities for this headquarters.
“We expect (the secondary headquarters) to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said.
Reading, Conn. resident Daniel Radmanovic said he founded the Amazon to Connecticut campaign in an attempt to rally support around the idea of the new Amazon headquarters locating in Connecticut.
UConn students can help this grassroots movement by signing the online petition, forwarding it to friends, reaching out to their Connecticut representatives in a show of support and spreading the message on social media, according to Radmanovic’s website.
“By having the support of Connecticut universities, we can hopefully get more signatures,” Radmanovic said in an email. “The more signatures, the better chance a campaign like this gets noticed by Amazon.”
Radmanovic added that the Amazon to Connecticut campaign urges students to show their support with the hashtag #AmazonHQ2CT.
The website, www.amazonhq2ct.org hosts a petition with a goal of 100,000 signatures. Although the campaign only has 61 signatures currently, Radmanovic said he hopes that it will gain enough support before next year to be noticed by Amazon executives.
First-semester engineering student Alexandra Porczak said that Connecticut’s proposals give her hope.
“It’s hard for someone in the field of science and technology to find a job right out of college, especially in Connecticut,” Porczak said. “But I am hopeful that if Amazon chooses Connecticut, they will provide opportunities for people like me.”
Seventh-semester political science major Mike LaPorte said he is not as hopeful for Amazon’s possible Connecticut development.
“It would be nice if they came, but if they came, they probably wouldn’t last very long because the business climate here is so negative and hostile,” LaPorte said. “If we want to bring Amazon here, we have to make sure that they can actually grow.”
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin have teamed up to submit a proposal to Amazon pitching the greater Hartford area as “cutting edge,” Malloy said in a press conference on Thursday.
“Our communities have long been at the forefront of American innovation and ingenuity, and are leaders nationwide in education, quality of life and culture – at the crossroads of New England,” East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said. “Amazon’s HQ2 will be a great benefit to our state as a whole, bringing exciting new opportunities for growth and collaboration across our region.”
Other proposals from Connecticut include a partnership between Bridgeport and New Haven and a secondary state proposal from Malloy for his hometown of Stamford, according to the Hartford Courant. Bronin said that an Amazon location anywhere in Connecticut would be a win for the entire state.
Amazon is actively seeking urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent, according to their press release.
“There are close to 130,000 full time students at 45 colleges and universities throughout the state,” Radmanovic said. “This represents the future workforce for Amazon to continue to help them build and grow. “
Radmanovic said that Connecticut’s standing as an economic “underdog” could be beneficial to Amazon accepting the bids which state officials offered.
“Yes, there are fiscal issues with the state,” Radmanovic said. “But Jeff Bezos is used to looking at struggling companies and acquiring them and turning them around (like the Washington Post.)”
Yesterday was the final day for bids to be submitted, and a decision won’t be made until early next year, Amazon executives told The Washington Post.
“Amazon will now review and make their decision in early 2018, so gaining support for the campaign between now and the end of the year is huge,” Radanovic said. “This would be big for the state as 50,000 jobs could come here, which would mean even more potential jobs for UConn grads.”
Radmanovic said that he hopes Amazon will help pull the state out of its financial issues, as long as the public supports it and is interested.
“Rather than say Amazon would never come here because we have all these fiscal problems, or just rely on our state and local representatives to put the proposal through, why not drum up support to show Amazon that we want them here and are excited to have them?” Radmanovic said. “The news is so negative these days, and I feel people have become negative or disenfranchised. This is a way to actually turn around the negativity and start rooting for something.”
Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.