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UM main hall stockimage (MIS)

The University of Montana's main hall. 

On Tuesday, approximately 30 community agencies will gather at the University of Montana to inform students and community members about the volunteer opportunities that are available in the Missoula area.

The Fall Volunteer Fair, which is hosted by UM’s Academic Enrichment Civic Engagement office and the Associated Students of UM student group Volunteers in Action, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Center Atrium.

During the fair, attendees can learn about meaningful service opportunities, while agencies will raise awareness and recruit new student volunteers.

Every year, at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, Academic Enrichment Civic Engagement coordinates a volunteer fair to connect interested students, UM faculty and staff, and other members of the community with volunteer opportunities in the Missoula area. The fair helps nonprofit agencies promote their activities and recruit new members to meet community needs.

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UM sets record for research funding

Research is rocking at the University of Montana, where for the second year in a row the university set a new record for external funding.

UM brought in $87 million in funding during the past fiscal year to support homegrown Montana research, entrepreneurship and statewide outreach, exceeding the last year’s record total of $83 million.

With these funds, UM researchers and scholars are designing new molecules with applications for drug development and environmental remediation. They are creating professional trainings to improve mental health among children living in rural communities. Among many other activities, they also are tracking elk to better understand their migratory patterns and pursuing an array of other newly funded research efforts that promise to create local economic opportunity while addressing questions and challenges of global significance.

Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president of research and creative scholarship, said university faculty members and staff reached the new record through 684 submitted proposals, which was almost 10 percent more than the previous year.

Whittenburg said UM faculty members are the foundation for UM’s growing research efforts. He noted that the university has added a number of new outstanding faculty researchers, including Josh Millspaugh, the Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation; Jedediah Brodie, the John Craighead Endowed Chair; L. Scott Mills, who is internationally recognized in wildlife biology; and Matt Church, an oceanographer at the Flathead Lake Biological Station who also has an international reputation.

The economic impacts are on an upshot as well. Traditionally, the university’s research enterprise primarily engaged with the business community through “technology transfer,” otherwise known as the commercialization of research derived inventions. Although those efforts are still strong at UM, in recent years a vision was cast to add additional programs to build out the university’s suite of services available to entrepreneurs and business owners both on and off campus.

Today those services include the Small Business Development Center, the Procurement and Technical Assistance Program, the Montana World Trade Center, the Montana Code School, Blackstone LaunchPad and the UM business incubator MonTEC.


Dance project to perform climate science piece for middle schoolers

Area sixth-graders will experience a special treat on Thursday, Sept. 15, when the University of Montana’s CoMotion Dance Project performs two interactive dance performances, which will take place in the Montana Theatre in UM’s Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center.

The first show is from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m., and the second is from 1 to 2 p.m. The public is invited, and organizers say there are more seats available at the later show.

The CoMotion Dance Project was commissioned by the Glacier National Park Conservancy to create “Changing Balance/Balancing Change,” a new, interactive performance that examines climate science and current and predicted changes impacting our planet. Using visible changes in Glacier as a fulcrum, the piece communicates basic understandings about climate change in the Northern Rockies and provides a framework for dialogue. It premiered in Glacier in July.

Thursday’s show is the first Missoula performance and is geared toward middle-school students. Sponsored by SPARK! Arts Ignites Learning and Missoula County Public Schools, the hourlong performance integrates arts and science with live interactions with the audience.

“Changing Balance/Balancing Change” weaves artistic dance, original music, choreographed narration, video projection and audience interaction into an immersive arts experience designed to engage audiences with the ideas and emotions at the heart of climate change. Developed for audiences of all ages, the piece includes content such as rate of temperature change, greenhouse gases and positive action humans can take in response to the realities facing our planet.

The active-audience approach provides innovative methods of engaging audiences and emphasizes the value and role of attention, patience and creativity as we, and our world, move into the shifting balance of our dynamic climate.

Performed by professional dancers Jordan Dehline, Ashley Griffith and Kaitlin Kinsley, and UM dance students Logan Prichard and Charlie Wiseman, “Changing Balance/Balancing Change” was written and produced by UM dance professor Karen Kaufmann and Steve Kalling, with guest choreographers Nicole Bradley Browning, Heidi Eggert and Joy French. Western Montana musicians composed and recorded the soundtrack, which is narrated by Jack Gladstone, Jeff Medley, Teresa Waldorf, Rosie Ayers and Lily Gladstone.

“Changing Balance/Balancing Change” is made possible by the following sponsors: SPARK! Arts Ignites Learning, Missoula County Public Schools, Glacier National Park Conservancy, Glacier National Park, the Montana Cultural Trust, UM, the Cadeau Foundation, U.S. Forest Service-Rocky Mountain Research Station and the CoMotion Dance Project.

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