And so it begins. It is Friday the 19th and the first day of classes is just around the corner. If you haven’t noticed the dramatic change in activity on campus—and around campus—you have been living under a rock. Can I come join you?
Check out this award for the edited collection Transgender Communication Studies, which features Tom’s chapter “Historical Trans-cription: Struggling with Memory in Paris Is Burning“: it received the  2016 Outstanding Book Award (Edited Collection) by the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender.
A bunch of us got together a couple of days ago upstairs at the Rio and had, I think, a very successful fall retreat. Katie, Martín, Elizabeth, Kari and Gloria were central to the meeting’s success. Thanks, folks! And thanks to all of you—especially those of you who overcame some healthy skepticism about the goals activity. More on that soon.
Over the course of the last eight days Tom and others have been helping our new GTAs settle in. Tom has led the new teachers in the award-winning training. We have fed them a couple of meals. They have chosen desks. They know where to find the candy (that is, in my office). All is right with the world.
And today is RamWelcome. We had something on the order of forty new students in Clark for their first experience with the department. Gloria, Dawn, Julia, Nick, Karyl, Beth and many others did an amazing job helping new students feel welcome and excited to be here. The students got cool magnets, and an “I Would Rather Give a Speech than Die” t-shirt (in its second edition). Elizabeth put the agenda together and it was a roaring success while Carol and Hannah designed this year’s swag.
We have an amazing semester and school year coming up. I will be getting dates to you of a variety of events, but for now note that we will be hosting alumni panels October 18 and 19. These are designed for any of our majors but in particular for the students in capstone.
And we will be celebrating the Center for Public Deliberation’s 10th anniversary this fall! We are aiming for an evening in November after the elections but before NCA. More on that as well.
And then in the spring, we host the ACT Human Rights Film Festival April 14-21. Scott has already found 26 films that he wants to program. And there will be even more wonderful films over the next months that could be programmed. There will be lots of opportunities to connect with the film festival work, so keep your eyes open for that.
Of course next Friday we have the Ice Cream Social on the southwest corner of the Monfort Quad (just north of BSB) from 5-7 pm.
Bookended by RamWelcome and Commencement, these are at least some of the big sign posts of our year.
But these amazing events, these opportunities to celebrate, to contemplate, to deliberate only occur because of the daily moments, the little bits, the small performances that make up our everyday lives.
The moments we have in the hallways, in the coffee shops, on the sidewalks; the interactions we have had and will have in classrooms and in offices; these little minutes, these banal interactions are the warp and woof of which our (good lives) are woven. Over the next days, weeks, and months our individual lives and our small actions will be the threads that, when platted with all the other actions around us, will make the tapestry of this coming school year. I am confident that the cloth we make will be colorful and diverse, strong and comforting; a big enough blanket for all of us, a complex enough drapery to embody our differences.
I hope your weekends are wonderful. Some of us will buy peaches and corn at the farmer’s market, we might share a communal meal that inaugurates a tradition of breaking bread together, or we might reserve a place and time of quietness and solitude in which to gather our thoughts as we begin the year. Regardless, I wish for you a good weekend and a remarkable start to this new school year.