Welcome home, once again. As we begin the semester anew, we are excited to see you all return to a snowy South Bend. After taking a moment to rest over the break, we look forward to walking hand in hand with you in the year ahead. 2020 taught us lessons that we can continue to carry with us, but the opportunity to start a new chapter gives us a chance to reflect, reinvent and rise to the occasion.
The start of the new year was a catalyst for conversation about our identity as a nation. As we looked on in horror as a violent uprising posed a grave threat to our democracy, we were once again confronted by the critical juncture that our country faces today. The extremist attacks on the Capitol call us to reexamine the power that our words carry to inspire or incite. At Notre Dame, we hope to be a force for good in the way we lead by example — having civil and collaborative dialogue founded on mutual respect and love for one another.
However, these sobering moments for our country were accompanied by moments of celebration, as we watched the inauguration of the first ever Madam Vice President. Kamala Harris made history as a trailblazer for women, Black Americans and Asian Americans, and her groundbreaking achievement beautifully set the stage for Black History Month.
Throughout the month of February, we remember and celebrate Black culture and history in a special way. We must always remember that Black history is American history. We are motivated to take this time to recommit to uplifting Black voices and culture, not just for the month of February. We look forward to Walk the Walk Week and events throughout this month offered by the Black Student Association and other student groups, and we encourage all students to actively seek out these opportunities to educate ourselves and participate in this celebration of Black heritage.
Finally, as we start off this semester, we cannot ignore the reality of the world around us. Now more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot forget that we must do our part to keep each member of our community safe. This pandemic has drastically changed how we interact with one another and come together. However, our own shared sense of community has inspired us to find new ways to connect with each other. We are energized about the cozy new lounges on both South and North Quads, and we look forward to the April days when Library Lawn will return.
In the fall, we faced a semester that was draining and difficult in ways not experienced before. Mindful of this, we encourage every student to be attentive to their own physical and mental health during this semester.
Please reach out to a trusted friend, a member of hall staff, or a professional at the University Counseling Center if you are in need of support at any point. Additionally, we hope you take advantage of the campus-wide Calm subscription for which Student Government has strongly advocated over the past year. The pandemic has caused great strain on all of us, and we must continue to show grace and kindness during this time. We are one family, and we must look out for each other.
As we continue to work through our remaining months in office, we remain committed to accompanying, advocating for and amplifying every student on this campus. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions, comments or concerns you’d like to share. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and keep fighting the good fight.
Rachel & Sarah