As we turned the page on 2021 with the weight of the pandemic remaining heavy, we still look forward to a new year, a new semester and more daylight. With vaccine mandates for students and staff, UVM is gearing up to welcome back our students to campus. Nothing can thwart the Catamount spirit!
This month’s Office of Engagement Newsletter provides you with a great overview of the ways that UVM students and faculty are engaged in some of most exciting opportunities facing our state. There is an article on the new ARC program that is connecting student entrepreneurs with inventors to support the growth of new start-ups. Interestingly, Vermont is quickly becoming a hotbed for technology start-ups. In 2010, Vermont was home to 2,367 such firms. As of 2020, that number is 3,772. UVM has and will continue to be a key partner in growing Vermont’s tech sector.
Speaking of technology, we have an article about the growth of electric vehicles (EV) on campus, and UVM’s commitment to helping the city of Burlington achieve its net zero energy goal by 2030. This effort will be one of the key features of the new Comprehensive Energy Plan being developed by the UVM Office of Sustainability.
One of the major impacts of climate change on our region are the Increases in extreme precipitation events leading to more floods. We feature a new study completed by UVM researchers that puts a dollar amount on the potential damages done by riverine flooding over the course of the next 100. years. In addition to raising alarms, UVM researchers are working with stakeholders to ensure that these damages are lessoned through implementing hazard mitigation measures.
The role of journalism in a free society has never been more important than it is today. We are happy to share a story that ran in the Columbia Journalism Review that highlights the UVM Community News Service and supporting curriculum being offered by the UVM College of Arts and Sciences. The Office of Engagement is pleased to have offered seed money for growing their internship program last year.
Lastly, we highlight the role that new Vermonters are playing in our state—what brings them to our state, and what might keep them here. Vermont is facing a very large shortage of workers. As one of the key attractors of talent to the state, UVM hopes to build on the insights from Dr. Cheryl Morse and her colleagues to develop programs to support a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all Vermonters. And speaking of new Vermonters, we are very pleased to welcome Dr. Randell Holcombe as the new Director of the UVM Cancer Research Center. He is the “community first” kind of leader that we like around here. Welcome Dr. Holcombe!
Chris Koliba, Ph.D.