When I sloshed through the rain on Wednesday evening on the way to Steele Hall, I was thinking two things: we certainly needed the rain, and it had been the kind of rough day that getting pelted by torrents was almost a relief. We all have some challenges these days, as people across campus are using imagination and hard work to manage resources, be even more efficient, and provide the best education that we can for Fredonia students. And some days, frankly, are harder than others. But I came to Activities Night knowing that I would see the strongest reminder about why all of us are here.
I was energized to see students sharing their passions, reaching out to others, celebrating seeing one another again. I saw kindness, as a student urged me not to take a picture until the person who worked hard to create the poster came back and could pose with the others. I saw good kinds of craziness, with LARPers in staged battle, percussionists with several kinds of instruments, geologists painting pet rocks, Quidditch and Pokemon Go players luring others in. I saw generosity and talent. I saw people connecting through intramurals, Greek organizations, Spectrum, clubs related to their majors.I was offered candy, stickers, and beautiful, sweet cherry tomatoes from the community garden. I was thrilled to see many students registering to vote. Mostly, I saw leadership, with groups such as STEPS and FREDAssist and Colleges against Cancer and St. Jude and Alternative Break Program and so many other groups asking others to help them do good in the world. When I see the skills of those who organize these volunteers and encourage others to join them, even a challenging day ends well.
There was an amazing sky, streaked with pink and orange, when I left Steele Hall. Budget challenges, personnel issues, problems to discuss and solve–all of these would wait until morning. For that night, I was buoyed by what I see Fredonia student leaders doing.