There are many words that could describe the course of this year. At the same time, there may have been moments in 2020 that have left us speechless. As our first full virtual semester comes to a close, it’s a time to reflect on the global, national, and local hardships that we’ve experienced together. And this year can teach us that even through a pandemic, personal and economic losses, another season of wildfires, and racial unrest, that we--our community--are resilient.
Here, at SustainableSSU, we have encountered our own challenges with budget shortfalls, fires, and lockdowns, and through it all, our priority has been building a sustainable and resilient North Bay for our students, faculty and staff. Just this fall the draft of our Regional Resilience Assessment, required as part of the President’s Climate Leadership Commitment, was completed. This living document “identifies regional strengths and assets that support resilience, climate change related hazards, impacts and exacerbating factors and indicators of resilience.” Our Center for Environmental Inquiry launched Rising Waters this year, to engage faculty and students in addressing regional resilience challenges surrounding the nexus of water quality and homelessness. Efforts extend to the SSU campus itself as well, with sustainable revamps including the long-anticipated Stevenson Hall Renovation Project, and the forthcoming addition of solar panels in our university parking lots.
Our campus community has pivoted to a new avenue of learning and working, and has enabled opportunities to connect with our students, faculty, staff, and overall community in creative ways--especially during a time that’s seemingly standstill. For the coming year, you can look forward to a Fire Speaker Series with Erica Tom in the Native American Studies department, presentations and discussions around regional resilience planning with us and North Bay Forward, and the annual Earth Week event in April. Despite challenges we may face over the years, we’re entering 2021 with newfound strength and continuing to keep our eyes on the big picture, planning for a thriving future even as we handle such challenges as they come. To learn more and get involved, follow SustainableSSU on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.