UMD aims to strengthen ties with the community

By KBJR News 1

June 9, 2011 Updated Jun 9, 2011 at 9:35 AM CDT

It's a theme we've heard a lot from Mayor Ness and city leaders in recent years: Keep UMD graduates in Duluth.

"Unfortunately, in the past, students come to UMD because they want to be in Duluth, yet we haven't given them the sort of opportunities to fully take advantage of what Duluth has to offer," says Mayor Ness.

Opportunities like volunteering, internships, and community involvement.

"It's a great benefit for the students because they have the opportunity to get involved in real world application of what their studying. It is also a tremendous benefit for Duluth because then we can capture and take full advantage of the tremendous energy that's on campus."

That's why the school is stressing UMD's relationship with surrounding communities in their recently released Campus Action Plan.

UMD Chancellor Lendley Black believes the key to a successful University is rooted in strong community relations.

"I feel we're stronger if those community links are stronger and if we're listening to the community," says Black.

While developing the plan, they even invited input from community members to make sure their goals were mutually beneficial.

"If we're not careful we could go off on a tangent that may not be in the community's best interest or something the community is interested in," says Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations, Greg Fox.

And as a UMD graduate himself, Mayor Ness has other reasons for wanting to strengthen the city's ties with the University.

"If we're going to hit our 90 thousand goal by 20-20, engaging students and keeping them in town and building a sense of ownership with the city of Duluth is going to be critical."

Critical for a city looking to grow, but also for a University striving to excel.

Written for the web by Courtney Godfrey