UM President Donna Shalala is excited about the upcoming year and the possibilities for the University’s future. With the first presidential debate of the 2004 campaign being held at UM, the political interests and involvement of UM students have been pushed into the national spotlight.
“I think the issues of war and peace are of central interest to college students,” Shalala said. “It seems to me that this election is going to determine the character of our country and how we are perceived by other people and how we think about ourselves.”
“You can’t make a university better unless the students see the place as their place.” Donna Shalala University of Miami President
During the 2003-2004 school year. UM made a strong push to get students registered to vote under the Get Out the Vote program, which was a success, registering over 1000 students. Combined with the addition of the Convocation Center as a new voting precinct on campus, UM students stand to have a powerful effect during the elections.
“If they vote, students can have a tremendous impact,” she said. “We’ve provided opportunities for students to register either in their hometown by absentee ballot or to vote here on campus.”
Shalala feels that as an increasing number of students are living on campus year round, it’s important to provide an opportunity to vote on campus.
The impending debate has energized the students of UM and is expected to be the biggest event of the year. Shalala’s tireless efforts to bring the debate to UM were only the beginning of what has become an immense project.
“This is just the warm up,” she said. “It gets really intense after the nominating conventions.”
Shalala is looking forward to the new opportunities becoming available to UM students. She believes that the educational experience and environment is what sets UM apart from other universities.
“You get a great research university with small classes,” Shalala said. “It’s a beautiful setting in a diverse community.”
“What the faculty did this year was to offer more flexibility in the selection of courses for students,” she said. “The future is being able to major in a discipline or in a professional school, while getting as broad an education as possible.”
According to Shalala, this represents a paradigm in curriculum selection.
“This will allow people to fulfill their [degree] requirements by being able to put together courses in different ways,” Shalala said.
As a new year begins and students get settled in classes and other activities, President Shalala encourages every student to get involved in helping to improve UM; the university is here for the students.
“You can’t make a university better unless the students see the place as their place,” Shalala said. “It needs to be a place that provides them with a high quality of life and a high quality education.” I