The University of Central Arkansas Honors College will present Challenge Week 2012 from Oct. 5-12.

This year’s theme, "Dear Mr. President:," imagines a letter to the next presidential administration that asks for action on issues that affect virtually all Americans regardless of age, ethnic origin, income level, region of residence or party affiliation.

Presenters will focus on three key areas of national concern: immigration, health care and environmental contamination.

"Challenge Week brings to campus nationally known thinkers to engage the community in a reflective interchange of ideas. Speakers present compelling arguments to UCA students, faculty and staff, and to the broader community, in an effort to inform, educate and thoughtfully address contemporary problems and concerns," said Rick Scott, dean of the Honors College.

The UCA Student Government Association is co-sponsoring Challenge Week 2012.

All events take place on the UCA campus and are free and open to the public.

Challenge Week schedule of events:

• Friday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. in the Presentation Room of Jefferson Farris Jr. Honors Hall. Shastady Williams and Blake Brizzolara, Honors College juniors, speak about their experiences participating in the 2012 Republican and Democratic Parties’ presidential nominating conventions. They attended the conventions during academic seminars hosted by The Washington Center.

• Tuesday, Oct. 9 in the College of Business Auditorium at 7 p.m. Mireya Reith, co-founder and executive director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC), will present, "If it’s Broken, Fix It: Immigration Reform in the U.S." A native of Fayetteville, Ark., Reith has worked in international political development across five continents with American nonprofit organizations and the United Nations to engage marginalized communities in democratic processes. Reith served as a municipal development volunteer with the Peace Corps in El Salvador, and currently serves the state as the first Latina appointed by the Governor to the Arkansas State Board of Education.

• Wednesday, Oct. 10 in the Doyne Health Sciences Auditorium at 4 p.m. Dr. Clay Arnold, professor of political science, will present, "American Politics in the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act." His scholarship features western water politics and issues in contemporary social and political theory. He has published articles and essays in the American Political Science Review, Politics and Policy, Journal of the Southwest, the SUNY Press series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics and the MIT Press series in American and Comparative Environmental Policy.

• Friday Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in the College of Business Auditorium. Dr. Tyrone B. Hayes, University of California-Berkeley professor of biology, will deliver the keynote address, "From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads and Men." Hayes is a graduate of Harvard and UC-Berkeley and also completed post-doctoral studies at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health and the Cancer Research Laboratories at UC-Berkeley. A recipient of several teaching, scholarly and citizenship awards, Hayes has published and presented widely on the role of environmental factors—particularly agricultural pesticides and herbicides—on growth and development in amphibians. His lecture is sponsored by the Honors College and the UCA chapter of the NAACP.