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Franken: Make your community a little more like Morris

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MORRIS – Inclusiveness and community have made the University of Minnesota, Morris what it is today, and will help guide graduates as they continue to try and change the world, Senator Al Franken said in his commencement address on Saturday.

“You can make your mark on the world without conquering it first. Heck, you can do it even without leaving town,” said Franken told the approximately 350 graduates gathered in the UMM P.E. Center for the university's 50th commencement ceremony.

"Whether you end up starting a business or running for office or discovering a planet or finding a job you like and raising a family ... you're going to belong to a place," said Franken. "If you're lucky, you'll find yourself in a community much like this one ... but if you're smart, no matter what kind of community you find yourself in, you'll do everything you can to make it more like this one."

In his address, Franken praised the close ties between the campus and community and the community's commitment to sustainable, green energy.

“This school's identity is based on inclusiveness,” said Franken. “You can see it in the way the college and community support each other. Morris didn't become a world leader in sustainable energy by accident. It wouldn't be that world leader if students, faculty, and members of the community hadn't worked together to make it that way.”

“At a time when too many in Washington won't even admit that climate change is a real problem, the Morris community is showing is what a real solution looks like,” he continued. “And you're doing it in a way that really exemplifies what Morris means. You're reaching out and including everyone. You're organizing on the ground instead of waiting for someone else to lead, waiting to follow. You are, as Ghandi advised, being the change you want to see in the world.”

Look for a full recap of Franken's speech in next Saturday's edition of the Morris Sun Tribune.