This is a guest post from President Michael Roth to members of the Middletown community and beyond:
As we approach the beginning of the new academic year, I thought I would share with you my excitement about recent developments (all good!) in the university’s involvement with Middletown. From the Wesleyan/RJ Julia Bookstore and grown café to university support of the Middletown Entrepreneurs Work Space, the Chamber of Commerce’s Career Expo and the City’s inaugural Pride festival to the move of Wesleyan staff to the old Liberty Bank building on Main Street, the presence of Wesleyan in the City is becoming more visible than ever.
Less visible but certainly audible! is our radio station WESU, long a model of university/community collaboration. Students and community members at the station continue to produce nearly 100 hours of programming per week to a listening audience of over 1 million people in Connecticut and Massachusetts. 2019 marks WESU’s 80th anniversary!
WESU is just one of many ways our students engage with the community. Others include Wesleyan’s Office of Community Service, Office of Service Learning, Center for Prison Education, and Sustainability Office. Our Nonprofit Board Residency Program continues to be a vibrant space – in which students gain invaluable insights about and experience in the nonprofit sector, while making substantive contributions to the organizations that host them. In the upcoming year, 15 students will enroll the program and support projects at 10 local nonprofits. Students, staff and faculty look forward to working with members of the community in making our common world more just, inclusive and sustainable.
Many of these programs are connected to the Allbritton Center, where practical skills for social impact are taught. Allbritton is also a hub of civic engagement at Wesleyan and a resource for anyone in the community interested in our programs.
Wesleyan is connected to the community in so many ways – as a critical economic engine, a promoter of civic engagement and environmental sustainability, and a contributor to culture. With respect to the last, our superb art collection will soon be more accessible than ever in its new space currently under construction in Olin Library, and improvements are being made to the Center for Film Studies and the Center for the Arts. So much of what happens in these venues – and on campus generally – is open to the larger community, and I encourage you to take advantage of what we have to offer.