As the 2020–21 academic year comes to a close, and the IU campus blooms with life, the feeling of hope and possibility are returning to campus. Our world and our nation continue to struggle with the short- and long-term effects of this ongoing pandemic, but the vaccines will alleviate the suffering and sickness of so many, and allow us to gather in community with one another.
This past 15 months have provided time for reflection on what’s most valued in our university community. At the top of the list is our commitment to a residential campus experience with the physical presence of our faculty, staff, and students that advances our academic community and encourages a vibrant campus life for all. At the same time, we have been changed, challenged, and pushed to rapidly innovate and evolve in ways that will remain with us. We have learned so much. We will move into the fall of 2021 with a larger vocabulary of ways to teach and research with one another, and this learning will enhance and enrich our community in the future.
In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, the push for social justice has been at the forefront of our discussions and attention. Over the academic year we worked toward the endorsement of our inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, the establishment of a DEI Committee who will lead in its implementation, and the hiring of a Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator to support these efforts. Please see the story below that introduces you to Sachet Watson.
I’d like to thank the entire Eskenazi School community for their dedication and innovation during this challenging time. As you will find in the articles below, they didn’t stop and continued to move their research, creative activity, teaching, learning, and service forward. Their super-human efforts are greatly appreciated by me, and by our colleagues and students.
Lastly, I have a request. As you might imagine, some students continue to face difficult situations right now—from food insecurity to unexpected medical expenses to needs for housing or technology. I understand that many of you might be in similar situations, but for those that are able, I’d like to share an option to provide emergency support to our students – our Eskenazi School Student Emergency Relief Fund was established this last year with seed funding from our dear friends, Meredith and Elsa McKinney. We have the processes in place to rapidly respond to requests and have already shared $17,500 with our Eskenazi School students in need.
I hope you and yours are well. Please stay in touch with us, either virtually, or hopefully in the near future, in person.
Health and peace,