Dear AU Community,
We are off and running with the fall semester. By the end of this week, all classes will have started, the Fall Involvement Fair will have connected more than 150 student organizations to our community, and the fall competitive season will be in full swing for our student-athletes. While you know I love my morning runs through campus, it seems like right now we are all running with so much going on in our community.
I was inspired by last week’s move-in. It was both a wonderful opportunity to see our students and families again and an incredible display of AU Eagle pride and energy that helped welcome more than 4,200 students to our residence halls. It was efficient, fun, and even made the local news! Events like move-in embody what we mean by community at American University—thousands of people coming together to support each other, celebrate good times, and share moments that shape our lives. Thank you to all the staff who planned and implemented move-in and to all the volunteers who worked through the summer heat to make this important tradition a success.
And, I appreciate everyone following the COVID health and safety protocols that are fundamental to our community’s well-being. An important step to keep in mind is to fill out our Self-Report Form if you are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, you are in quarantine, or you tested positive for COVID-19. This confidential information supports our contact tracing and affiliate notification efforts, which help keep our entire community safe.
Last week, we also had the opportunity to welcome new faculty members and continue learning from the incredible scholarship of our experts. It is amazing to see research ranging from exploring a star that has remarkable similarities to our sun to understanding the challenges of development and equity in our cities. Additionally, our WCL faculty moved into the top 50 of the highly regarded Scholarly Impact Score for law schools. The work of our faculty is not only defining impactful solutions to today’s pressing issues, but also inspiring our students to pursue their own purposes.
Beyond all the activity in the classrooms and the residence halls, this fall will be extremely busy in so many ways. We will launch the two-year budget process for FY 2023 and FY 2024. You’ll recall that we implemented a one-year budget for this fiscal year as we addressed COVID-19 economic uncertainties. The next two-year budget will be an important step forward as we continue the prudent financial management needed to invest in the current and future needs of the university. We will also conclude year three of the Changemakers strategic plan implementation—be on the lookout for updates on the accomplishments and advances we’ve had across the strategic imperatives. And since we know Change Can’t Wait, we will be continuing our work to tell our stories and seek support for our key priorities for the student experience, research, and community building.
While the energy and optimism we see and feel on campus are invigorating, it is important to remember and reflect on the difficult and heartbreaking situations affecting so many in our world. From the suffering of the recent earthquake in Haiti to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan to the destruction of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, many in our community are struggling as family and friends endure terrible tragedies. This includes Afghan and Afghan American members of our community with loved ones at risk, and our veterans’ community, a number of whom served in Afghanistan or alongside colleagues and Afghan allies affected by the recent events. The devastating attack last week only deepens the pain, and we honor those who were lost. Our hearts are with you, and we are here to help.
An important part of reflection is coming together in the spirit of community. On August 30 and September 1, the Office of Campus Life and Kay Spiritual Center will host a series of remembrance and reflection events, including a service of remembrance and prayer, to mark all that we have lost and endured during the pandemic. I hope you can participate in the events either on the quad or virtually. Additionally, we will continue our critical academic and learning work to explore and understand how major development shape our world, including SIS’s special event series: 20 Years After 9/11.
Thank you again for your dedication and commitment to our community and each other. It has seen us through the challenges of the past 18 months, remains our guiding principle as we gather together once again, and will be with us all the way as we run through the semester.
Be safe and be well.