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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Maine’s Colby College counters higher ed mistrust with community outreach

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Monday, February 26, 2024   

Americans' confidence in higher education has plummeted but students and staff at Maine's Colby College hope continued community outreach will help bridge the divide.

A major investment in surrounding Waterville has brought more than 30 new businesses and art programs, while a downtown dormitory houses students, who commit to working in area homeless shelters, the public library or schools.

David Greene, president of Colby College, said students are even working with the local fire department to help improve services.

"That work has really transformed the way that students see themselves connected to the community," Greene observed. "And it's transformed the way that people in Waterville see Colby students as well."

Green argued institutions of higher learning have a moral obligation to contribute to the betterment of their communities and help change the narrative of higher education, which he asserted has long been the gold standard for industries worldwide.

When he first arrived in 2014, Greene recounted he often heard local kids describe Colby as "the palace on the hill." Waterville was struggling with the loss of mills and manufacturing plants, and mistrust of the college was widespread. But through investments of time and money, Greene emphasized area children can now see themselves at Colby, and more Colby students are choosing to stay in the area after graduation.

"The more that people start to see that this is a place that you can grow businesses, this is a place where the housing will be available to you, the more that our students will stay here, the more integrated the city and the college will become over time," Greene projected.

Greene noted Colby is committed to increasing workforce housing in Waterville as well as boosting local innovation and entrepreneurship. He added while there is no "one size fits all" model, other schools and economic development agencies are taking lessons from Colby's community approach.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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