Last year at this time, the College was preparing as we always do for the spring semester. We had just published this magazine with the topic of space and place, a uniquely liberal arts subject to investigate memory, rhetoric, where we come from, who we are. We were also looking forward to a variety of events that would further showcase our liberal arts expertise: in particular, our contributions to understanding the natural environment at the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on campus.
But, as the weeks wore on and we learned more about this new virus spreading rapidly around the world, we (CSU) shut down and retreated to our homes, teaching, learning, and researching in the same spaces where we eat dinner and raise children.
Being a public research university, CSU jumped into action and our infectious disease experts dove into discovering more about the virus, how it works, how to protect ourselves; our engineers and scientists developed a saliva screening that was easier, quicker, and much cheaper than the nasal swab to help our campus community determine infection rates; and our economists investigated the virus’s economic impact on women, on performing artists, and on rural communities.
Meanwhile, our college, along with others on campus, worked diligently to respond to student needs and teaching requirements, developing best practices for online teaching, protocols for keeping classrooms open but less dense, using sociology and communications research to craft the social norming campaign, studying aerosol transmission in performing arts environments, and opportunities to continue our research and creative activity that would comply with public health guidelines.
The work was continuous, exhausting, and allowed us to truly exemplify the resilience, determination, and adaptability that is so indicative of CSU Rams.
We at CSU and in CLA have tried our best to respond with a ‘people-first’ perspective, always prioritizing public health of our community and the learning experience of students. Is the situation ideal? No. But the liberal arts teach us how to navigate complex issues and the complex terrain of life.
We draw attention to, and provide solutions for, the wicked problems that face us: whether that’s political partisanship, racial injustice, environmental sustainability, or issues of health and wellness.
The focus of our majors in liberal arts -- culture, politics, communications, economics and the like -- intertwine with health challenges worldwide that range from pandemics to affordable housing, air quality to spiritual health. We work together along the scientists to understand the virus and its impact, and to create solutions that bring about a more healthy existence for us all.
My healthful challenge to you: read the story from your home department and then choose one more. Take a moment to reflect on the ways we explore health in your College and the impact we could all have together on the health of the world around us.
"The focus of our majors in liberal arts -- culture, politics, communications, economics and the like -- intertwine with health challenges worldwide that range from pandemics to affordable housing, air quality to spiritual health."