Meaningful civic and community engagement have been part of Colby’s educational mission for many years. By providing our students opportunities to pursue their passions in the classroom and the community, we practice our belief that “the best preparation for life . . . is a broad acquaintance with human knowledge” (Colby Mission). When we encourage our students to live and learn at the intersection of their academic work and their community involvement, we cultivate an engaged citizenry capable of and dedicated to advancing the common good through critical inquiry and public service. By thoughtfully and intentionally bringing together the curricular and cocurricular, the academic and the experiential, we can develop innovative civic engagement initiatives that contribute to the community and enrich our students’ education.
Since 2003 the Goldfarb Center has done admirable work in both public policy and civic engagement. More recently, under the vision of President David A. Greene, civic engagement efforts are being led by the Office of the Dean of the College. This change provides Colby the possibility to dedicate more focused resources to develop and enrich civic engagement programs that foster collaboration and innovation across our campus and our local communities. In addition, with this new leadership, we have the opportunity to reshape our aspirational vision for civic and community engagement and to explore both the local and global possibilities of such work. Central to President Greene’s vision is the creation of strong curricular and cocurricular civic engagement initiatives that will also be tied to the planned student residence hall in downtown Waterville.