Canes in the Community

The University of Miami launched a community service oriented website this June, as school officials pledged an even greater commitment to the surrounding area.

The site serves as an online resource and organizes the university’s community outreach programs into 12 major categories of interest, ranging from “Children & Families” to “Health & Wellbeing,” and “Environmental & Green Initiatives.”

Annette Herrera, a spokesperson of the university said that many of the schools and colleges previously had their own websites that featured community outreach programs.

“Up until the launching of ‘Canes in the Community this past June there just wasn’t one central place where the greater community could easily learn about many of our outreach programs in a variety of areas,” said Herrera.

The initiative is being spearheaded by University Communications working in conjunction with the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Government and Community Relations.

Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely called out to UM students to take action during the opening ceremonies of Gandhi Day earlier this month. Gandhi Day is the largest day for community service on the UM campus, facilitated by the Butler Center for Service and Leadership. This year more than 750 students came out to the service day.

“Miami is a city that needs a lot of help and there are a lot of people that could use your assistance,” Whitely said.

The ‘Canes in the Community initiative goes by a familiar name. The title comes from the existing outreach program of the same name sponsored by University Athletics.

Herrera said that they asked Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt if the new initiative could borrow the name and he was very happy to share.

“It’s such a perfect name for the ‘bigger picture,’’ said Herrera.

The website currently features a handful of community initiatives sponsored by the athletics department, such as the “Nike Future Canes” program and nearly 200 other programs facilitated by various divisions of the UM community.

The Butler Center for Service and Leadership has a large presence on the site, as it one of the primary hubs of community involvement for undergraduate students.

The director of the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, Keith “Fletch” Fletcher, said that the launching of the ‘Canes in the Community site is an acknowledgment by the higher-ups in the university that the campus’ involvement in the community isn’t just seen as an ‘add-on’, but as an institutional responsibility.

Since the website kicked off, the surrounding community has definitely seen even greater community involvement.

“The UM campus has continuously been a great help in keeping our shores clean,” said Art Levy of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne. “The campus always counts us on its big service days and we really appreciate it.”

For more information on the programs already in place or to learn about how to get involved visit the website

Julian Glover may be contacted at