How Can We Make a Difference?


Greetings from Montezuma,

As an alum, there is a familiarity in coming back to a campus filled with adolescents who are discovering who they are – as individuals and as members of our colorful, loving, and sometimes challenging community.

Asking questions and challenging ourselves is a big part of our student experience. Like many of us, students arrive on campus and begin to ask “Why not?” and “Why does the school do it this way?” or “Why do you think that way about…?”

As their two years come to a close in Montezuma, the questions change. They begin asking “What can I offer?” and “How can I make a difference?” and “What am I going to do?”

This year, the campus community is focused on sustainability – and what that means personally, locally, and globally. Students come with sometimes dramatically different understandings of sustainability. But after long hikes in the Grand Canyon, intense (and sometimes heated) dayroom conversations, and working together on activities, they learn about themselves and others.

And their questions turn to action.

This year we’ve seen powerful examples of student and staff action:

— More than 180 students and staff recently took to the streets during the Global Climate Strike in Santa Fe, N.M. to raise their voices as part of the biggest climate mobilization in history and following up with concrete calls to action for our campus sustainability efforts, including reduction in meat consumption.
— Our staff and students are transforming campus service, working shoulder to shoulder with our staff to address deferred maintenance on campus. In addition, our students’ work with local students, incarcerated youth, the homeless, and on local sustainability efforts.
–As part of our Bartos Institute programming, 28 students representing 22 countries conducted workshops on peacemaking, dialogue, and active listening with students, faculty, and community members at the College of Idaho.
–Students planned, organized, and launched Renaître, a fashion show that drew our attention to waste in the fashion industry and featured beautifully designed recycled clothing.

Over the past several months, we have heard many questions from alumni, too. In this digital age, are students able to connect with one another and form the bonds and friendships that we did? Does the school have the leadership to take it forward? Is the school on stable financial footing? Are students still receiving the same caliber of education that we did as students? Is the wilderness program still a central part of the formative experience on campus?

These are all great and complicated questions, and luckily our leadership doesn’t shy away from them. They assure us that the actions we are taking matter. Your questions and responses to surveys, focus groups and at reunions have informed our current strategic plan and the work being done to ensure a sustainable future for UWC-USA.

Our alumni are working with the leadership to take our school forward. Alumni work hard on our board, at our school among the faculty and staff, and as volunteers through programs like the Alumni Fellowship Program and the Class Agent Program. We thank those of you already engaged, and we hope that more of you will join us by asking, “How will I help?” and get involved by lending your talents to UWC-USA.

We also rely on your financial support to make UWC-USA the powerful place that shaped us. With your help, we will continue to shape future generations. Your gift today gets us closer to our goal of raising $2 million this fiscal year. And, through the generosity of the Davis Family Challenge Grant, we can unlock an additional $2 million in critical support for scholarships and program support.

There is more to us than we know. I am excited to be working alongside you to help us realize our potential.

With gratitude and best wishes for the holidays,

Mark Hodde, ’89
Chief Advancement Officer

P.S. Your gift today will help us to reach our goal of raising $2 million this fiscal year – and unlock an additional $2 million through the Davis Family Challenge Grant. Please also log on to www.uwc-usa.or/engage to learn about other ways that you can become involved.

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