April showers

Two people stand on stage, and one holds an award.

Thank you to President Schulz for calling out the great work of WSU Extension in his State of the University address last week! I had no idea he had a strong interest in gardening. I am headed to the Puyallup Research and Extension Center on Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WSU Master Gardener Program with the program participants and leaders.

There are so many great things going on across WSU Extension, from supporting production agriculture and forestry to helping families improve their nutrition while reducing food bills. Work in the 4-H Youth Development Program was recently highlighted, too. Congratulations to Linda McLean and her team for recognition by the USDA for their work with the youth in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation! The seed bombs are a cool project!

CAHNRS enrollment projections look good. As of last week, we are about 20% ahead of last year at the same point in time. The work doesn’t end here. We have to get through what I have learned is called the “summer melt,” where confirmed students change their mind about attending. The work doesn’t stop in August, either. Students — and employees — need to feel that CAHNRS is where they belong. Many of us are perhaps unaware that not all feel welcome. It’s on everyone to change this by paying close attention to our words and actions, and not just “inviting everyone to the party,” but creating an environment where all want to attend. Last week, I received several reminders that we aren’t there yet, but if we all commit to change, we can get there.

After a night at the Apparel, Merchandising, Design & Textiles Fashion Show, I spent some time this weekend reviewing proposals from our unit leaders that outlined strategies to address the budget reduction. What became clear is that several of our leaders have far too much experience with this exercise. Balancing excellence as an R1 research institution with meeting the land-grant mission of serving Washington and preparing our learners for future challenges remains increasingly difficult; there is nothing extra in the budget. Together, we will change that, too. In the meantime, a design from the show on Friday night gave me a good idea for how to use those Crown Royal bags that may be lying around. The 19 senior designers are full of creative ideas!