At Central Michigan University, social responsibility is one of our core values, and it feeds into all we do. It is at the heart of our commitment to educate and prepare engaged, responsible leaders. It is foundational to our pledge to serve communities in Michigan and beyond and to work for the greater good of society. To me, social responsibility means being aware that our actions impact the world around us and, based on that understanding, making the deliberate choice to take actions to improve our community and the lives of those around us.
As we navigate this current pandemic, individual social responsibility is now not only a value but also a moral imperative. It is impossible to overstate the facts: COVID-19 continues to be a threat. The virus continues to spread and the risk of serious illness persists for people in almost every age group. At CMU, we Take Care of ourselves and others. In this pandemic, we owe it to ourselves, our families, our friends and our community to take this virus seriously.
Thankfully, the steps required to slow the spread of the disease are relatively simple: Wash your hands often. Practice social distancing. Wear a mask. The socially responsible choice is, therefore, equally simple: Take precautions to protect yourself and others.
Sometimes being socially responsible comes at a cost — in our current scenario, the cost is usually inconvenience and sometimes discomfort. I’ll be honest: I do not like wearing masks. Masks make it difficult to read people’s facial expressions. Talking while wearing a mask often fogs up my glasses. Wearing my mask in the summer is hot and can be uncomfortable at times.
However, I choose to wear my mask every day because this is my community and I care deeply about the people in it. I choose to wear a mask to protect those around me, and I am grateful to those individuals who show me the same level of care, courtesy and concern by wearing their own masks and face coverings.
There is growing evidence that wearing a mask can substantially reduce the risk of virus transmission. When we wear our mask (or face covering) and also practice social distancing, avoid large crowds and wash our hands often, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. And, to put it bluntly, our plans for fall depend upon our success.
We’re planning to be open for face-to-face instruction this fall. I know many of our students prefer an in-person classroom experience, and I know many are hungry to see their friends and mentors again. If we all take appropriate measures to protect ourselves and others, the likelihood of a successful on-campus fall semester increases dramatically. If we do not, we will likely have to revert back to remote instruction.
I know that what I am asking of our community may seem incredible, yet I firmly believe it is possible at CMU.
Our students choose CMU because they wish to make a difference — they want to be the positive change they wish to see in the world. I believe they will make the right choices to protect their friends and families here at CMU and at home. Similarly, our faculty and staff choose CMU because they are dedicated to student success, and they go to extraordinary lengths to ensure students have a positive experience here. I believe they will do everything they can to protect their students and their colleagues. Above all else, I believe we are stronger when we work together.
This is our community, and we are all responsible for making it the best place to live, learn and work.