Monday Moments with President Bergman: December 14, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on December 14th, 2020 by

As the semester draws to a close, I want to share a big “thank you” with all members of the Gustavus community. It has taken a team effort to get to the finish line, and I am grateful that everyone—students, faculty, and staff—pitched in and did their part to create and maintain a safe learning environment throughout the fall.

In this last Monday Moments for 2020, I want to revisit the theme of justice and community. The President’s Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has written a vision statement for our collective work on Racial Justice and Inclusion:

Gustavus will be a just community where all of us feel a sense of belonging and benefit from an exceptional education.

Notice the intentional inclusion of the ideas of a just community and a sense of belonging. In his virtual address to the Gustavus Class of 2020, beloved Minnesota storyteller and alumnus Kevin Kling ’79 talked about the word “belong.” It can be a paradox, he explained, to both be a part of something and to long for something else.

President Rebecca M. Bergman

I have been reflecting on this lesson as we continue to lean into our Racial Justice and Inclusion work. All of us belong to the Gustavus community. We are of it, in it, and constantly shaping it. And yet, we also long for a more equitable and inclusive community, one where differences are celebrated, viewpoints are embraced, and all voices are heard and valued. Belonging means each of us feels accepted, trusted, and able to make meaningful contributions toward fulfilling our mission.

This weekend, I looked back on my inaugural address from 2014. My words ring as true today as they did six years ago: “A community is much more than a casual collection of individuals. A healthy community is a group of people who have a deep and abiding commitment to each other, who communicate with authenticity, who celebrate together, who mourn together, who support and care for each other, who labor together, and who commit to a shared purpose.”

Gusties, we have lived out these ideals this semester. We have looked out for one another, took steps to keep our community safe, and made progress on our Racial Justice and Inclusion work. We also know that our journey continues. We must continue to build a just community where all feel a sense of belonging. We have proven this fall that no challenge is too big for our collective efforts, and I know that we will continue to move forward together in 2021.

I hope that each of you has a restful, restorative, and healthy winter break. Until we are together again, please continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines that are all so familiar to us. Keep yourself and others safe over the holidays. Relax, unplug, and celebrate. You’ve earned it.

Until the New Year, Gusties, take care and stay safe.

Yours in community,

President Bergman

 

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