I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to 2024! The bitter cold has meant spending a lot more time indoors than I would prefer, but no pipes have burst in the University House, so I’m thankful for that! Now, with a winter storm arriving today, I want to remind everyone that our students’ and employees’ safety is always our priority at EWU. We know that many Eagle students are commuters, which is why we’ll be in close contact with public safety officials to make the determination on whether classes and/or activities will be suspended during this, or any other, winter-weather events. And I can’t thank enough our valuable staff members who work so hard during the winter to keep our buildings, walkways and parking lots safe and accessible.
On Monday, I joined Eastern students, faculty and staff in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service activities in downtown Spokane, including participating in the unity march and rally, as well as the resource fair. Thank you to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for organizing EWU’s booth! This year, we were also excited to have our passionate students from the Black Student Union lead the organization of a conference and workshop at the Spokane Convention Center: “Empowerment through Action.” It was inspiring to hear from dedicated community leaders and see the diverse audience ready to help make our region more aware of on-going issues, and to provide ways in which we can all work together to promote activism for a more just and welcoming community.
This month has also showcased our talented athletes — they’re on fire! Not only did we have two track stars break school records, but both our men’s and women’s basketball teams kept bringing home the W’s! At The Podium, for the Spokane Sports Showcase and Spokane Indoor Challenge, senior Madelyn Knight broke EWU’s record for the 60-meter hurdles, while Zach Klobutcher broke the school record (his own) for pole vault, clearing 5.22 meters to win the event. Our women’s basketball team kept their win streak going by defeating Idaho, and then our men’s team followed up with another win against the Vandals. This fall our athletes also boasted a collective GPA of 3.56, marking 49 consecutive quarters above a 3.5 GPA. I am so proud of these talented students excelling in their sport and in their education!
Finally, Washington’s 2024 legislative session has begun, and we are working hard to engage legislators on both sides of the aisle in meaningful dialogue to advance EWU’s priorities. This week, I will be traveling to Olympia to meet with numerous legislators. As always, my goal will be to strengthen our relationships and advocate for initiatives focused on student success. During this supplemental budget year, we’re continuing to be bold in our legislative asks, as we remain dedicated to showcasing the vital role Eastern plays in the workforce and economic vitality of our region and state.
It may be cold and snowy, but as always, it’s a great day to be an Eagle!
Shari McMahan, PhD
Eastern Washington University