Start of a new season!

Dean Wendy Powers
Dean Wendy Powers on the campus of Washington State University, Friday, July 15, 2022.

I wasn’t sure what to expect while watching the U of I versus WSU football game last weekend at a stadium suite. Although I was surprised to see the Vandals gear, I should not have been, given the proximity of the opposing institution. Of course, there were no hard feelings, and everyone left as friends. Even some of our own Cougs were torn. The Alumni and Development team did an amazing job making everyone feel welcome, and kept conversations engaging and productive. I look forward to the Colorado State game and the chance to meet more alumni and partners!

On Monday, I headed to Olympia for my first Board of Natural Resources meeting. As I boarded the flight to Seattle, it occurred to me that other than seven years in Gainesville, Fla., I have always lived and worked within an hour’s drive of the state capital. In some cases, it was a quick 15-minute drive (East Lansing to Lansing, Mich., for instance).

Now, the views along the way are far better, with snow-covered Cascades even in early September, and Mt. Rainier in clear view during my daylight trip from Olympia to SeaTac. I never tire of snow-covered peaks!

In fulfilling my Board obligations, I will be required to deploy science as my guide. This aligns with part of WSU’s commitment to excellence: to produce high-quality research that enables informed decision making.

I have received a few pieces of good news and further evidence of WSU’s commitment to excellence. Birgitte Ahring was just awarded a large, competitive grant from the Department of Energy to research converting biogas with hydrogen into renewable natural gas. Way to go, Birgitte! Jill McCluskey convenes the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine this week in the Tri-Cities. The board will focus on labor and automation topics for resilient agriculture. I look forward to hearing from the presenters on these important topics. A big thanks to Jill for bringing the board to Washington!

I will connect with the Prosser team this week before returning to Pullman for Fall Festival. On Friday, I will host my last Zoom meeting with Extension directors from around the U.S. before our annual meeting in Baltimore at the end of the month. That event will finish out my term as the national chair of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy.

On one hand, chapters are closing. On the other hand, just like my trip to the west side of the state, I am excited to see what’s ahead.