BLOG: Presidential Perspectives

Fired up for your return to CMU

CMU President Bob Davies in front of CMU wall with logo and CMU flower bed
As we prepare to welcome you back to campus this fall, I’d like to ask for your help in making the 2020-21 academic year the best ever at CMU.

During your time on campus, you’ve likely seen and heard this phrase often: At CMU, we Take Care of ourselves and others. Take Care means we look out for one another. We offer kindness and support. We reach out proactively to help. We treat everyone around us, including ourselves, with compassion and respect.

As we continue to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, the phrase Take Care is more important than ever. Nationwide, the virus continues to spread and there is still no vaccine or cure. This means that every time we interact with others, we run the risk of spreading infection, even when we feel healthy. Fortunately, there are simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves and others — and we are adopting these practices at CMU.

When you come to campus, you will be expected to:

  • Practice social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask or face covering at all times indoors, as well as outdoors if you cannot maintain safe social distance.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
  • Review the Fired Up for Fall website.
Remember, these practices aren’t only to protect yourself — they are meant to protect others as well. We are all in this together, and the health and safety of our entire community depend on everyone being responsible, compassionate and caring.

As some of you know, I am not only the university president, I also am the parent of a current CMU student. I’d like to put on my “dad hat” for a moment and put this very bluntly: Students must take responsibility for protecting their own health and the health of their peers. CMU has put many safety measures in place, but if you, our students, do not accept ownership of your safety and well-being, those measures won’t be effective.

Our goal is to be on campus this fall. I have heard from hundreds of students that they will do anything to remain on campus with their friends — and that means they must take responsibility for making that happen. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Avoid large gatherings. If you have symptoms, tell someone and we will help you. If you are called by a contact tracer, answer honestly and completely.

If we all take responsibility for our behavior — if we are all committed to keeping our community safe — the likelihood of a successful on-campus semester increases substantially. OK, dad speech over, putting back on my presidential fedora.

Compassion and responsibility are part of CMU’s core values, and I reflect on them often. I ask you to become familiar with them, too. They are integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness, social responsibility, excellence and innovation. We will discuss them regularly this year.

Today, I want to focus on the word “inclusiveness.” At CMU, we define inclusion as full participation for all in every activity and venue of CMU. It means that every student, faculty and staff member, graduate, guest and visitor feel they can be part of the great things happening on our campus, and they will feel welcome to do so. We cannot achieve excellence if some members of our community do not feel equally seen, heard, represented, included, respected and valued.

Each of us has a role to play in making others feel welcome and valued, and it begins with treating everyone with compassion and respect. Remember the words you likely learned in kindergarten: Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be kind. Be respectful.

Every day at CMU, you meet people whose lives, experiences, beliefs and perspectives are very different than your own. You may feel challenged by the things they say and do, just as they may feel challenged by you. I ask that you embrace the experience of being uncomfortable and open your mind to new points of view. You don’t have to agree, but I ask that you listen, ask respectful questions, seek understanding and act with compassion.

These aren’t just suggestions for making the most of life at Central Michigan University, they are tools and skills that will prepare you to live and work in our increasingly global society. The world is more diverse and connected than ever, and your experiences at Central will help you succeed in life beyond graduation.

I am fired up to see you again soon. Until then, be well, take care and, as always, Fire Up Chips!

A version of today’s blog was sent to new students by mail to their permanent address and was sent via email to returning on-campus and global campus students.
Blog: Presidential Perspectives posted | Last Modified: | Author: by Bob Davies, CMU President | Categories: President's Office
The views and opinions expressed in these blog pages are strictly those of the page author.