It is hard to believe we are less than two weeks from spring commencement! There is much to do between now and then with banquets and student recognition events continuing. Everyone involved in teaching is working hard to get our students past the finish line while continuing to engage with next year’s prospective students. April 15 appeared to be the turning point for spring. I noticed far more people out walking, riding bikes, and bringing a heightened level of energy to Pullman.
Before heading into the weekend, I had a stack of “thank you” notes to write to some of our generous partners and donors. It is fun to learn about the background of why they donate! Even more fun is meeting our donors, like the few I met last week. I came away with some good ideas about how to better build relationships and even some ideas of who could be part of a CAHNRS Advisory Board, not to fundraise but to help us advance the future of CAHNRS and our programs.
I spent the weekend on the west side of the state getting my “water fix.” At the end of this week, Karen Lewis and team are hosting me, a few department chairs, and the associate deans for a Columbia Basin tour. The timing is good as we think about how to support the rapidly changing region and its economies and communities through partnerships, both internally across WSU and externally. As agriculture and technology grow in the Columbia Basin, we need to keep in mind the changes and community needs that accompany the growth, like access to education and services.
Before I get to the field trip portion of the week, there are meetings with the chairs and directors as well as stakeholders, a deans’ retreat, and the Ruckelshaus Advisory Board meeting. I am excited that the Ruckelshaus Center’s new director, Julia Carboni, will be on board soon as a result of a successful search! We continue to complete searches in CAHNRS, too, and will have several new talents joining us in the coming months. CAHNRS is grateful that the state’s capital budget translates to good things for the Ruckelshaus Center and will support our research and Extension centers in addition to Pullman’s Knott Dairy Center. I have chastised my partner often over the years for needing to purchase pricey Dewalt drills. Now I find myself relieved that he hasn’t needed a grain drill.
While the insanity of life has many of us questioning how and when it became unsafe to knock on the wrong door or turn around in a driveway, I see every day the good that surrounds us. A highlight last week was a parent’s letter touting the accomplishments of her daughter as a result of participating in a CAHNRS competition team. Despite juggling far more activities this past year, her daughter has better grades and a sense of self-confidence her mother has never observed before. Our work — the work of all of us in CAHNRS — truly means something.