Higher education starts at lower levels of community



As the land grant university in Kentucky, we have a unique duty to move our city and our state forward. This has many implications, most immediate among these being our relationship with the Lexington community.

Every one of us has a responsibility to create and maintain positive relationships with those living in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. These should be our friends, and we should seek to include them in this university community.

Much is often made of negative incidents involving students, and while we should keep these to a minimum, we should also go out of our way to create positive interactions and relationships. Acts of kindness can go a long way toward cementing our reputation as a kind and inclusive student body.

One organization that reaches out exceptionally well is the Center for Community Outreach. They are committed to helping a variety of different groups in this city, including many with few, if any, ties to the university. They aid the homeless through the Helping Hands program. They go out to local nursing homes to serve the elderly through the Young at Heart program. FUSION alone sent out more than 1,400 students to help the community in just one day.

This organization, as well as the many others at UK devoted to service, set a great example for the rest of us and for what it means to build and strengthen the community.

It is also important for students at UK to help younger students in surrounding areas along their academic path. College Mentors for Kids, Junior Achievement and others facilitate these relationships, connecting college students with grade schoolers.

Our faculty has also been great in building relationships with the community. I participated in the Math, Science, and Technology Center programs at Paul Laurenc Dunbar High school in Lexington. This allowed me to work directly with UK faculty on research as a high school student. It was incredibly rewarding and helped pave the way to my decision to attend UK. These programs not only help the respective schools, but move us toward one of our ultimate goals – higher education.

I have been proud of people’s response to the student tailgating change. I think we have thus far displayed ourselves well in the eyes of the community. Please continue to be vigilant, and do your best to promote the positive experiences that make this university loved by so many people.