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Graphic by Liv Schanck

Letters from the Dean – Edition 1

It’s time to vote. No vote, no voice and nothing can be more important than our being willing to use our voice for change, for progress and for good. American youth have a low rate of voting compared to other demographics in the U.S., but you can help change that factoid. It really is VERY important to weigh in when you have a chance, and when election time comes around that is our chance! This year in Maine there is a race for the Governor’s office, a congressional seat and many local candidates and issues. You might feel too busy or too tired or too disinterested to think that your vote matters, but it does.

By voting you affirm your part in our democracy, you reinforce the importance of being involved and you support the most important part of any functioning society: a healthy and participative community. Sure, I get it, there’s a lot of noise and banter that comes around election time and a lot of the issues and races can seem unimportant at first blush. But I promise you once you start exploring the positions these candidates take, the issues being discussed and the downside of losing your voice, it’ll become quickly obvious why your vote counts. You’ll be able to say, with pride, that you’re invested, that you care and that you did your part in your community. That makes us stronger as individuals and stronger as a community. We become part of the solution vs. sticking our head in the sand and turfing that responsibility to someone else.  

In most college students’ lifetimes this has never been a more important time to vote. Recent events like the attack on the U.S. Capital, the COVID19 pandemic, politics of division and distrust and racial reckoning and global climate change matter in huge ways. As we grow and change as human beings and our society and our campus evolve to be stronger, more inclusive, more welcoming and a safer place, you have every reason to vote. 

Your voice matters. 

Almost every day we hear about hate, incivility and intolerance and that makes this a particularly good time to reaffirm our values of unity, compassion, inclusivity and civility. These values are, for me, unwavering and probably everyone agrees they are good guides for all of us. 

Our commitment to each other as members of caring communities persists. The most productive societies – some might say the North Star of societies – are distinguished by equal access to change-making opportunities and by civilly engaging with difficult issues to make the changes necessary to improve the world we inhabit.  

Your voice matters.

My hope is that these anxiety-provoking times will work to strengthen us and not divide us, to encourage us to find our voices to work toward a healthy democracy where people are dignified, respected and supported. It’s a lot to ask, but it’s within our reach.

Our first step is to own the vote, so whether you vote in-person or by mail let your voice count. You’ll be empowered and you’ll be part of a democracy that needs every one of us at the table.

For more information  

And, if you live on campus or in Orono you can vote and register to vote on November 8 on campus in the Field House.

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