To the Students,
We’re nearing the first of October, or “spooky season” as I call it myself. For our freshmen class, I hope your first month of college has treated you well. Addressing you three weeks ago at Fourth Night and Convocation in the August heat, I advised you to soak in the Millsaps community and academic experience– whatever that may mean to you. Hopefully, it means going to Reuben’s with your friends every night (and Cookout after that). Or it means spending time on Tik Tok rather than doing your readings for class. Looking back at my three years here, I wouldn’t trade a conversation or laugh shared during Caf dates or on the porches of the triplets for hours in the stacks or in the basement of the CC.
While moments like these have marked my time at Millsaps, we cannot ignore the work required to enhance our collective experience. At times we can rejoice in our uniquely Millsapsian-like utopia, but we can also use these years more effectively. In tandem, the Student Body Association is systematically addressing the issues and concerns brought forward. Increasing the level of transparent communication and following-through on the effects of newly-enacted policies and proposals with the student body, administration, faculty, and staff is on the forefront of our agenda. Creating a new line of communication through our firstname.lastname@example.org inbox and calendar to directly address you—our constituents—is a major step forward in our goal to simplify all correspondence. Reinstating Reuben’s on the weekend, executing successful Homecoming and Senior Year Experience programs, linking engaged alumni to current students, and organizing Town Halls with staff and administrators are a few of other current projects.
I know we are all eager to return to the real normal. Normal without masks, normal classes, and normal days—days with that original sense of spontaneity that defines the “college experience.” Many of you feel cheated of the best four years of your life, and I really empathize. You either entered here without a Graduation, Prom, or have gone two years without participating in your beloved sport or activities. Missing out on these crucial moments, moments that play key roles in your personal development, is disappointing, frustrating, and defeating.
While the Welcome Week festivities, Greek recruitment, and rush parties resemble the vivacious campus environment of my freshman year, we will not achieve this sense of normalcy until we increase our campus vaccination rates. I commend the boost in numbers over the past few weeks, but we should not get complacent as the semester continues. Vaccination remains the best option to protect yourself and the community at large from contracting Covid and risking a massive college-wide Covid outbreak. Vaccination remains the best path forward to regaining the normal college experience. If you are hesitant about any side effects of the vaccine or have questions about the development process, visit this link for reliable, non-biased information regarding the vaccine: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/featured-topic/covid-19-vaccine-myths-debunked. Dr. Rehm (email@example.com) and Dr. Hussa (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Biology Department are also on-campus resources if you would like to have a conversation about this very important, personal decision. You can also submit your questions through this anonymous form (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FMJRHJ6). Submissions will be addressed and answered by the College’s Biology Department and other faculty members on the college’s social media.
I am optimistic about the year ahead. I choose to focus on the positives of living and studying in this small community; the larger impact each of our voices have on effecting change is valuable. You are a stakeholder in your own experience. I know too well the urge to gripe, but I ask that you channel your frustrations, your passions, and your opinions to bettering this experience.