Powell welcomes U into alliance

by K. Cameron

Calling their agenda the most comprehensive he’d ever seen, retired Gen. Colin Powell announced at the Gateway alumni center Tuesday the University’s commitment to join America’s Promise: The Alliance for Youth.
The University is the first land-grant institution in the nation to join the alliance.
Powell serves as the chairman for the organization, whose goal is to mobilize the nation to build and strengthen the character and competence of American youth through five promises: caring adults, safe places, healthy start and future, marketable skills and a chance to give back.
Before Powell spoke at the alumni center, University Executive Vice President and Provost Bob Bruininks outlined the reasons the University formed a link with Powell’s crusade.
“We’re a University with a very strong public mission, in a sense, a public responsibility,” he said. “In the 150th year of the University’s history, this is an important time to rededicate ourselves to important public issues.
“There’s no better way to achieve that,” he continued, “than to join this national effort under America’s Promise.”
Bruininks stressed the role of the University’s research resources as a potentially vital contributor to the organization.
“I think an important thing that we can do is connect the best knowledge we have to what goes on in these programs,” he said. “We can create a knowledge base to make it possible to improve the lives of youth in a successful way.”
Bruininks later said Powell privately praised the University’s agenda as “stunning.”
Although the specifics were not outlined, the University plans to use its community knowledge to synthesize with the program’s goals.
The few specifics given include a youth resource center with online and in-person services, a new undergraduate minor in youth leadership and a special weeklong program at the State Fair.
America’s Promise: The Alliance for Youth arose out of the April 1997 President’s Summit for America’s Future, held in Philadelphia, Penn. Powell led the summit. Most of the organization’s work is done on a community level, but more recently a network of universities has aligned itself with the group.
Powell, who spoke after a standing ovation from an audience comprised mostly of young 4-H members, stressed the importance of providing role models for young people and “steering them away from the bad things in life.
“All of you are here because you had warm, caring adults in your life,” he said.
Also speaking at the rally were University President Mark Yudof, Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Lt. Gov. Mae Schunk, Minnesota Alliance With Youth co-chairman Michael Radmer, Minnesota 4-H youth Ambassador Joel Mathiowetz and University student leader Heather Cardinale.