Maine Day 2023 update
Dear University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias students, faculty and staff,
I write to inform everyone that, in 2023, Maine Day will be transformed into “Maine Day Week,” to occur April 24–28, 2023. Classes will be held each day of that week, including Wednesday, April 26.
On Dec. 14, the 23-member Maine Day Task Force, chaired by professor Jeffrey Hecker, with student, faculty, staff, alumni and Orono community representation, issued a 12-page report on Maine Day. Last semester, based on input from students, as well as faculty and staff, I decided to establish this task force. I charged this advisory group to reenvision Maine Day by making recommendations for increasing student volunteerism and decreasing safety concerns related to our long-standing day of service. Those recommendations, which were informed by data and a significant amount of campus and community input, have helped us make decisions about Maine Day moving forward.
The President’s Cabinet and I have reviewed the report that included four alternatives for Maine Day. We have decided that, in lieu of one day of focused activities, “Maine Day” 2023 will be a weeklong observance at the end of the spring semester at UMaine and the University of Maine at Machias that will involve the revamping and rebranding of the tradition. This alternative, which includes no class cancellations and focuses on historic Maine Day goals — from campus clean-up to community building, philanthropy and celebration — also had clear consensus among task force members.
In addition, we will seek increased membership on a standing committee to plan and pursue strategies for expanding and enhancing this week of service and engagement, as recommended by the task force. I agree with the report’s recommendations that expansion of engagement (including bolstering service activities), increased risk management and harm reduction strategies, broader communication, and academic connections will be essential components of a revamped approach to the service-focused efforts of our community.
Leading the Maine Day Week 2023 Committee will be Lisa Morin, who will be joined by Lauri Sidelko, Ben Evans, students, faculty, town officials and staff who will be appointed in the coming weeks.
We will share updates on our reenvisioned approach as they become available. I again extend my gratitude to the many students, faculty, staff, alumni and other community members who shared their perspectives and passion for philanthropy and community service as a Black Bear value, and express my sincere thanks to committed task force members; to Dr. Hecker, Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology; and to Division of Student Life leaders for all the insight and time dedicated to fathoming the past, present and future of this important UMaine tradition.
As I have noted from the start, my steadfast concern is that all we do — in and out of the classroom — is focused on the success, safety and well-being of community members. I hope that all who shared their perspectives on Maine Day will continue to be involved by offering thoughts and ideas for an expanded observance that is so important to so many.
Thank you again. We look forward to Maine Day Week 2023.