The University Record, April 1, 2002

Senators McCain, Bayh will hold town meeting

By Joel Seguine
News and Information Services

Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) will be on campus April 8 to hold a town meeting addressing national service. Their visit primarily is to promote their legislation calling for increased funding of AmeriCorps and other volunteer programs.

The schedule for McCain and Bayh is as follows:

  • Noon, Roundtable discussion, Michigan Union

  • 12:30, Media briefing

  • 1–2:30, Town meeting, Hill Auditorium

    McCain and Bayh chose U-M because it is the place where the Peace Corps originated. Running hours behind for a scheduled campaign stop, then Sen. John F. Kennedy made an unprepared speech to a group of U-M students in the wee hours of the morning, Oct. 14, 1960. Standing on the steps of the Union, Kennedy asked if students would be willing to devote a few years of their lives serving in underdeveloped countries around the world to promote better understanding between the U.S., developing nations and their peoples. Within weeks, 1,000 Michigan students had signed a petition calling for the establishment of the Peace Corps program. Less than one year later—on March 1, 1961—the Peace Corps officially was launched.

    During his State of the Union message, President Bush announced a plan to recruit 200,000 more volunteers nationwide. Included in his plan was increased funding for AmeriCorps, the federal program that offers students college tuition assistance in exchange for community service. U-M has a strong AmeriCorps program that already had planned to expand before the president’s announcement.

    U-M also has a strong showing in the Peace Corp, ranking second among universities in the number of graduates working for the program.