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UMaine Today Magazine

President's Message

President Robert A. Kennedy
President Robert A. Kennedy

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The upcoming election reminds us of the importance of promoting civic and community engagement in our academic community. At the University of Maine, we take this aspect of our broad educational mission seriously, and we are encouraged by the results.

Volunteerism is burgeoning at UMaine, where our students provided more than 55,000 hours of community service this past academic year. The UMaine/UVote program in the Division of Student Affairs has fostered useful discussion and participation in the political process, leading to strong student voter turnout in recent elections. The School of Policy and International Affairs and Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce are leaders in bringing high-level experts to UMaine to share their perspectives and promote discussion.

UMaine students and recent graduates are getting involved in a significant way, making their voices heard in our communities, our state and beyond. To me, this all indicates a healthy academic community, where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged and the result is an informed, educated student population ready to contribute in meaningful ways.

This issue of UMaine Today includes stories that follow this same theme. For instance, in the cover story, professor Paul Mayewski, a world leader in the study of climate change, points out that the solution lies in each of us, and that our climate issues will not improve unless we commit as individuals and as a society to a different way of life. Also in this issue, several faculty members offer their research-based perspectives on some of the societal issues overarching this year's presidential election.

U.S. voters will make important choices in November. We can all be encouraged by the knowledge that students, faculty members and others in higher education communities nationwide are working together to promote individual and collective engagement. Through engagement, we develop new leaders and help ensure that our society makes those choices based on commitment to ideals and sound intellectual principles.

UMaine Today Magazine
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