As we step into 2017 and begin the spring semester, it does us well to reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., a legacy of community action that inspires us to recognize the unique opportunities we each have and to cultivate a more just society. King well understood that positive change does not happen on its own but rather comes through continuous effort and struggle. Change at the University of Colorado Boulder will require the same effort and struggle; it is on us to make our community everything we desire and know it can be.
Over the past year, many of you have participated in the Inclusive Excellence strategic planning process. Community, specifically creating a community here on campus, is a topic that has come up repeatedly with faculty, staff and students. Through our interviews and discussions, it is incumbent on each one of us, as individuals, to reach out to our peers and create that community, one action or person at a time. The challenge for each of us is to ask, “What can I do?” A few suggestions to get started might include:
- Invest one hour per week to build a relationship with someone with whom you might become better acquainted.
- Expand your appreciation of the larger university community by serving on a cross-campus committee.
- Attend and/or present at the spring Diversity and Inclusion Summit, titled "Continuing to Build the Road Map: I Am Because We Are,” on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Building a community is not an easy process and may require you to step out of your normal day-to-day routine. However, it is precisely that work and the resulting shared experiences that will serve as the foundation for tomorrow’s CU community. That said, it is clear most of us want to be part of a community. And it is our responsibility to take action—whether it is an invitation to lunch or a campus event—to make that happen.
The University of Colorado Boulder is a special place. Together, we each play a role in performing the research, teaching, creative works, learning and service that enriches our reputation in Colorado, as well as nationally and internationally. We do these activities not in isolation but as part of CU Boulder and, as stated in the Colorado Creed, for the greater good of the community.
As we strive to shape tomorrow’s leaders, be the top university for innovation and positively impact humanity, we must remember it all begins with a sense of community and belonging. And that community begins with one individual’s action to reach out and connect with others. Let's each do what we can every day to ensure we are able to step into 2018 as part of a greater CU Boulder community.
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement