Dear Eagle Family and Friends,
Suddenly the holiday season is upon us, beginning with Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day next week. And while many of us will gather with family and friends to enjoy good food and conversation, it’s also a time for us to reflect on what we are grateful for and what makes us happy.
At Eastern, we are appreciative of so many things this academic year, including the fact we have been able to gather in-person for classes and activities while keeping Covid-19 cases relatively low. We are also grateful every day for our hard-working students whose presence is so uplifting. And we are thankful for faculty and staff who have diligently navigated the myriad of pandemic-related policies and protocols to ensure a successful academic year.
We have been working through this pandemic for 20 months now, so I want to bring to your attention an important message about gratefulness from one of our EWU Experts, Phil Watkins, PhD. His studies on gratitude have been the topic of many articles in recent years, and his insights provided crucial guidance that helped many of us cope during the early days of the crisis.
I would also like to outline a few other things Eastern Washington University is grateful for as we inch closer to wrapping up the fall quarter.
In October, the university was finally able to have an in-person celebration marking the opening of the Interdisciplinary Science Center (ISC). The state-of-the-art facility sat mostly empty last year, so the ISC ribbon-cutting ceremony was a long-awaited chance to thank lawmakers who approved state funding for the project, to recognize our Board of Trustees and their leadership, and to hear from students and alumni about how this will be a game-changer for future generations of Eagles. We now look forward to beginning the renovation of the old Science Building in 2022.
The university has also been able to slowly venture out to interact with many of the communities we serve around the region. Last month, a delegation of EWU leaders visited Tri-Cities for an Eastern Edge community forum: Powering the Hispanic Workforce. This inspiring discussion included various EWU experts who shared their thoughts on how Eastern can help prepare our region’s fast-growing Latinx population in Washington for great job opportunities with area employers.
Through all of our gratitude, we must not forget that Covid-19 is still with us, and that these are still very difficult times for many people. This is why mental health issues have rightfully become part of our daily conversations. Eastern is proud to be at the forefront of training students to help those suffering from behavioral and mental health challenges. As you can read below, The Seattle Times recently wrote about how our School of Psychology has developed a 30-credit certificate program that allows students to learn and practice low-intensity interventions under supervision.
On a related note, EWU is extremely grateful to our student athletes who have contributed to the Eags Take Care (#eagstakecare) mental health initiative. Please take 30 seconds to watch this video and learn more about how students are being encouraged to reach out if they are struggling. This message truly exemplifies what it means to be a part of the Eagle family.
I truly hope that in the coming weeks you are able to enjoy gathering with family and friends, and are able to take some time to reflect on what means most to you. I know I’m extremely appreciative to be leading this amazing institution, and to have the privilege of working with remarkable people who share with me a passionate commitment to the success of our students.
David May, PhD
Eastern Washington University