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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

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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