Dear Eagle Family and Friends:

Across the state and around the country, we’re facing a new reality, a new normal. We’re learning what a pandemic is, we’re learning firsthand what social distancing and sheltering in place really mean. 

So what do we do when we’re hit by this new reality?  

We’ve been doing a lot! (See my opinion piece in this Sunday’s Spokesman-Review for some detail.) And, through it all, we remain unwavering in our mission to support our students and serve our community.  

As a public university, we’re committed to helping our communities get through this challenge with a positive spirit, to emerge from it with resilience and grace. I encourage our community partners to join with us, to lend each other a hand, to share or donate resources or expertise. An easy way to show your support is to display Eastern’s Community Strong sign, which you’ll find this week in local publications. 

Eastern’s students, faculty, and staff are leading by example. A Master’s in Public Health student, Bethany Laird, is volunteering at the fairgrounds drive-through testing site. She lived in Africa during the 2014 Ebola crisis and worked as a freelance news photographer. Based on her experience there, she wanted to help here. 

Nigel Davies, a scientific instructional technician in our Geology Department, is using the hashtag #ExploreOutoor on Twitter (@EwuGeology) to highlight geological points of interest that families can explore while still practicing social distancing. “We want to give people some ideas about where to go outside; and when they get out there, what they will see,” he says. 

In response to the Governor’s request for more personal protective equipment, our faculty and programs have provided more than 15,000 gloves and 100 masks for local first responders. 

To highlight Eastern’s 138th anniversary, we’re celebrating Giving Joy Day this week. Most years, for Giving Joy Day, we focus on raising money for student scholarships. During this challenging time, however, we’re focusing on emergent student needs: technology and laptops for online learning, support for food insecurity, and other financial assistance. 

For those who cannot give financially, we encourage you to bring joy to those around you:  check on your friends and neighbors virtually. Stay connected while physically separated. 

Eastern Washington University is your public university. We support our students. We serve our communities. 

Mary Cullinan
President, Eastern Washington University