Could it be that a silver-lining among the dark clouds of COVID is our rediscovery of how much we depend, rely, and relish each other? Based on our experiences here in Fort Collins, I’d say that this is true. When we moved to fully remote learning last year, we did so to protect our community, to limit the transmission to others of what was then a rather mysterious disease. We spent so much of our time in our homes, facing the world through our screens, and we came to know one another differently. Home interiors became familiar, and choice of virtual backgrounds, virtual visits from pets or children, books on the shelves helped us learn about other sides of our colleagues and classmates. The distance, in that sense, brought us closer together. So did the empathy and generosity of spirit that we developed as we helped each other work around the needs of home and the need for self-care.
For these reasons, the words “together, we …” resonate as a theme for this year’s College of Liberal Arts Magazine. The challenges of coming together, the obstacles of being together physically, made even sweeter and more meaningful those times when we met in mind and spirit to accomplish meaningful things.
We want to come together with you now to share some of those moments, discoveries, and explorations that, even more than COVID, defined last year. Please take a few moments to read about your favorite department and see how our faculty students and staff demonstrated the stalwart Rams spirit that is indicative of our community and encourages us to be stronger together.
The challenges of coming together, the obstacles of being together physically, made even sweeter and more meaningful those times when we met in mind and spirit to accomplish meaningful things.
Stalwart, indeed! Looking ahead, the Fall Semester looks much brighter now than it did even a few weeks ago. We are able to plan for even more robust, on-campus experiences with the capacities of our classrooms rising and the number of classes we can offer in-person increasing even as I write this. We’ll return, I hope, with a heightened sense of what a privilege and opportunity we have when we are together in the same spaces. We’ll return, too, with a much more robust toolkit for sharing and learning, our traditional methods measured and increased with new technological platforms and skills. We will not be going back to “normal” as much as we are creating a new potential for what “normal” becomes.
We learned during the pandemic not to take togetherness for granted. We also learned that we in the liberal arts can lead the world in generating the understanding, the dialogues, and the opportunities to do so.