We are delighted to welcome you to the beginning of our spring semester. The start of a new semester provides each of us an opportunity to reflect on our shared goals and values and to reaffirm UMBC’s commitment to inclusive excellence and to each other. It also gives us the chance to recognize how each of our unique stories, perspectives, and experiences enrich our UMBC community.
Finding Community during the Pandemic
We understand that many in our community and across our nation and the world continue to experience challenges and loss as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As we begin our second full semester in a mostly virtual environment, we want to recognize the importance of our community’s empathy, flexibility, compassion, and support for one another.
The myriad ways in which people seek, find, and sustain community at UMBC have necessarily evolved during the past year. We have learned that community is more than a place; it is a feeling of belonging, a caring ear during tough times, and a sense of shared celebration during good times. We are proud of the efforts of so many to plan events that transcend location and promote UMBC’s sense of community and togetherness even while we are apart.
We encourage students to participate in the ongoing Winter Welcome Week activities, which are scheduled through January 30, 2021, as well as Involvement Fest from February 1 ﹘ 4, 2021. We hope students will consider joining campus organizations and participating in the virtual events planned for the semester. These are a great way for students to get to know and learn from each other, hear about different cultures and perspectives, and get involved in issues or activities of interest to them.
Moving Forward Together
As we reflect on the social and political divisions that have been so apparent in recent months, we encourage all members of our community to remain committed to understanding different perspectives as we seek to move forward together. We are fortunate to have faculty, staff, and students involved in civic engagement and community-building both on and off campus. UMBC is a community where we inspire one another to be our authentic selves, reach our full potential, and make an impact.
We invite all members of our diverse UMBC family to connect with each other in the spirit of mutual respect, dignity, and understanding. We encourage you to join The Empowered University: Balancing Inclusion and Free Speech, tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27, at 4 p.m. Please register here for this community discussion about the challenges of balancing our shared commitments to free speech and equity and inclusion. The Center for Democracy and Civic Life and Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion, and Belonging (i3b) are also excellent resources for students who wish to be more engaged in this work.
As spring classes begin, we also want to remind undergraduate students that the Academic Success Center provides a range of resources to support them as they progress toward degree completion and is available to answer questions virtually.
Thank you for all you do to strengthen our community, and best wishes for the new semester.
President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous