I am a sophomore at the University of Southern Maine, majoring in Recreation and Leisure Studies, with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation, so I am concerned for our department’s future (“USM president proposes deep, ‘painful and disruptive’ cuts,” March 15).

This year, our program grew 54 percent and has the highest enrollment rate it has ever had. Over the past year, we’ve had two retirements with no replacement. After this remaining semester, one more faculty member is retiring, leaving only one full-time faculty member.

In this economy, it is horrible that education is facing so many downfalls. Our generation is the future. I believe that there are ways to cut funding within the university other than by eliminating entire degree programs.

As a freshman, I was unaware that I could even major in Recreation and Leisure Studies, due to the lack of marketing and promotion from the administration. I almost declared a major in psychology before Recreation and Leisure Studies was introduced to me. Deciding to major in Recreation and Leisure Studies was the best decision I have ever made. I am heartbroken that if we are cut, no one else will be able to enter this remarkable program.

Both Therapeutic Recreation and Community Recreation involve the enhancement of one’s health, well-being and quality of life. We work with all age groups and numerous populations (veterans, at-risk youth, people who are ill or disabled).

Therapeutic Recreation specialists work throughout the education systems, in hospitals (acute, outpatient, psychiatric and rehabilitation care), in nursing homes, etc. We help people with limited physical abilities, cognitive impairments, intellectual limitations, etc. Community Recreation specialists may become supervisors, coaches, manage volunteer programs, coordinate camps, Boys & Girls Clubs, etc.

Leisure services is the second largest industry in the U.S., and it would not be in the university’s best interest to eliminate this growing program.

Allison Andrews

Brunswick