This spring has been one of the most unprecedented, challenging, painful and remarkable times in recent memory.
In March, only a few weeks after the winter issue of The Source was released, our world turned upside down.
Here on campus, Spring term started with remote teaching and across the state, faculty and staff from Corvallis to our extension and experiment stations in all 36 counties began to navigate how to work from home while still serving their teaching, research and outreach missions.
We adapted quickly and the resourcefulness and tenacity of our entire College – its faculty and students – has been nothing short of inspiring. You can see some of our Stay at Home Heroes in this issue to get a glimpse of that resourcefulness.
New approaches to traditional methods became necessary. Some of which we will likely adapt permanently.
I’ve also been amazed to see how deep and important our relationship with the agricultural and natural resource community is across the entire state. A shared crisis tests and strengthens partnerships like ours. As the backbone of our economy, this pandemic has tested our food system like nothing else. And our researchers have been working hand-in-hand with industry to identify new market opportunities, address supply chain issues, provide guidance on safety protocols, create access to foods for communities hit hardest by the pandemic, and assist with workforce training. We will continue to invest in that partnership as we always have – as the state’s land grant institution – as we work toward economic recovery and new opportunities in the months to come. Because we are all in this together.
More recently, we’ve all been reminded of the painful truth of systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent outpouring of grief across the nation. Personally, I feel called to task to acknowledge my white privilege and take intentional action in dismantling racial inequities for our black and brown faculty, students, alumni, partners, neighbors, and friends. But good intentions are not enough. We must take action. And in a recent memo to our College faculty and staff, I made it clear that we will be taking action. As individuals, and as an institution.
Finally, it is a bitter-sweet end to an academic year as we say farewell to our graduating students. I have never been more proud of a group of students than I am the Class of 2020 that has endured great uncertainty and had to reset expectations of traditions many anticipated for their entire lives.
Recently, we celebrated our students and faculty with a livestreamed event honoring award winners and all of our graduates. That recording was shared with family and friends across the country and it gave us all an opportunity to pause and reflect not on what we didn’t get to do, but what we did get to do. With hearts of gratitude, our students shared their experiences, our department heads noted their encouragement, and we all concluded with a rousing shared chorus of “Go Beavs!”
In closing, let me just say that as we step into the summer, I will do so inspired by what we can do when we share common goals and embrace our college vision to make tomorrow better.
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station