I love this time of year when you hear sounds of students cheering for the end of a semester, see faculty smiling elated for a summer break, and smell fresh wildflowers blooming in parks all around the Bay Area. I’m an optimist and also a pragmatist; we’re living in tough times so what are you doing to balance the rewards of your work with the chaos of a nation in turmoil? We fear what we do not know and fear can become inaction on one end or rage on the other. Angry outcries at the pure ignorance of some of our nation’s decision makers are justified; yet anger must be channeled in ways that are productive and where people stop and listen. Certain segments of society continue to be wounded with disrespect, hatred, conflict, and grave injustices. Others have suffered when entire families are separated by deportation or destroyed by violence. Regardless of our situation, we must always be acutely aware of our surroundings and embrace what’s real and genuine. With the dedication and commitment of people who seek to maintain peace and solidarity, our dignity will prevail. “Democracy is not a spectator sport” and oppression should not be the new norm. We must seek to address not only the inequity gap, but also the blatant attacks against our very humanity. How will you achieve the changes that you truly desire?
ICCE has had many accomplishments over this past semester and our staff remains among the best I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Students have remarkable experiences, our community assets are vital, and we must expand the nexus of faculty involvement across our campus as critical for success. Working together creates synergy and helps find solutions to some of society’s most pressing problems. From faculty teaching service learning courses to leading projects around engaged scholarship, contributions to progress in our neighborhoods have been key to dismantling the current turbulence. Our high impact programs at ICCE increase innovation and creativity; through our collaborations across campus and community we leverage our respective strengths and seek that magic formula to mitigate adversity faced by so many. Additionally, we must encourage the Next Gen to problem solve and lead. Regardless of our place in society, resourcefulness and personal responsibility are crucial.
Last, there’s an old adage that says “good things come to those who wait.” I’d like to advocate and encourage us to also spread the word that good things come to those who go! Since demographics are changing, remember that knowledge and experiences are changing with it. Are you prepared?
On behalf of ICCE, we hope you have a great summer – work hard, play hard, and remember: the future is yours to create.
Nina S. Roberts, PhD, Faculty Director
Institute for Civic & Community Engagement