I was delighted to learn that the Huffington Post would be collecting examples of public service to help inspire more commitment across the USA. I am fortunate to be part of a university that has a long tradition of this kind of work, and I am pleased to commit personally to contributing to it.
For generations, Wesleyan students, faculty, staff and alumni have connected their educational work to making positive contributions to the world around them. Here we have long believed in the power of a liberal arts education, not only to help one to live a more reflective and considered life as an individual, but also to enable one to engage with one's community in effective and generous ways. Our student volunteers at our Green Street Art Center, our tutors at Traverse Square Housing Project, and our teachers in prison programs in Central Connecticut are just a few examples of public service at Wesleyan. I have no doubt that students, faculty and staff will continue to join with our partners, our neighbors and our friends to connect our efforts at Wesleyan to productive work beyond the campus. My commitment will be to spend hours each month volunteering in the community arts center in Middletown.
In his Commencement Address at Wesleyan in the spring of 2007, President-elect Obama spoke to our students about the dignity, power and joy of public service. He told our graduates that their service can "shape the collective destiny of their generation," and help form the future of our nation. The time to engage is now.