Welcome to the Start of The New School Academic Year
Below is a message I sent today to The New School community. I shared my excitement about the start of the new academic year with students, faculty, and staff following an amazing series of orientation and welcome events last week.
Welcome to the start of The New School academic year!I am glad you are here and I am excited to be on this New School journey with you. Our first week of classes follows an amazing series of orientation and welcome events last week. I want to recognize our residence life staff, orientation leaders, and all of the staff whose efforts helped to create such a warm, welcoming, and enjoyable start to the academic year. I was thrilled to attend many of the events and meet lots of students, faculty, and staff members.
In every conversation, I have sensed an extraordinary degree of passion, commitment, and positive energy carrying us into a new beginning together. And I’ve been delighted and inspired to hear some of the personal experiences, backgrounds, and aspirations that people bring to The New School. Each member of our community was drawn here for particular reasons, has singular hopes for their New School experience, and has unique talents to contribute. Regardless of our entry point, role, or how long we’ve been part of The New School, we are all at once being shaped by this distinctive university and helping to shape its future.
Even as campus is buzzing with excitement and the prevailing mood is upbeat, I want to acknowledge the emotional, political, environmental, economic, and social complexities of these times. Each of our students, faculty, and staff carries the weight of challenges and concerns that range from the global to the highly personal. That is why it is especially important to take good care of each other, engage compassionately and patiently, and be guided by our humanity.
As a university, we have an outsized role and responsibility to model, create space for, and contribute to critical thinking and open dialogue. This means having difficult conversations in ways that are respectful, civil, and oriented to fearless, equitable, inclusive progress. The tie that binds us together is the sense of joy and optimism that derives from our academic and creative work together. As James Baldwin wisely stated, “Hope is invented every day.” So in this very moment exists the opportunity to “begin again”—not only to rediscover the why of our individual vocations, but also the passion for our collective work.
There is much to do this year and much progress already to share. Please watch for a message from Provost Renée White later this week that will offer highlights, reflections, and updates on several university initiatives underway. Together with all of the leaders across the university, we look forward to a year of hard work, great accomplishments, and more than a measure of joy.