USM’s Wishcamper Center was filled with the voices and energy of approximately 100 Maine middle and high school students, when they participated in the iGlobal Classrooms Leadership Symposium on June 10, co-sponsored by the Muskie School of Public Service. The students explored public policy and its global impact, with presentations they developed on topics as diverse as “Food Waste and Climate Change,” “Civil Rights,” “The Four Freedoms,” and “Hurricane Sandy Impact, Disaster Preparedness and Response Policies.” Schools participating from the surrounding communities included Portland High School, Casco Bay High School and King Middle School from Portland, Cape Elizabeth High School, Freeport Middle School and Durham Community School.
Charu Saxena, the founder of 4eSolutions and Principal Consultant for the iGlobal Classrooms Programs, said, "The traditional norms of education simply do not apply today with critical and rapidly intensifying global issues such as climate change.” She added, "It is imperative for education today to connect student learning to the real world, to have students from an early age begin to understand the pressing human and interplanetary challenges and look towards forming policies and solutions.”
Saxena, who earned her Certificate of Graduate Study in Community Planning and Development at the Muskie School, emphasized the importance of community outreach in learning, saying, “Institutions like the Muskie School of Public Service and universities everywhere need to earnestly engage in knowledge transfer to schools as part of their outreach policies. iGlobal Classrooms Leadership programs incorporate all these facets to enrich, deepen and broaden school learning and student understanding while building a platform for sustainable future global collaborations."