May 21, 2020

Happy Thursday, everyone,

As I shared at the beginning of this week, I’m shifting to a Monday and Thursday campus message schedule for the summer.  Over the next weeks and months, I will use these emails to update all of you on our plans to resume on-campus operations, relaunch in-person learning, and restore the sense of community that we all derive from being on campus.

But tonight I want to call attention to something that is not resuming, relaunching, or being restored at CSU: research.

That’s because the Research enterprise at CSU is so extensive, so urgent, and so diverse, that we define it as an essential function of our institution. So even when classes went online and the majority of our employees went home to work, many of our research labs stayed open.

They stayed open to work on not one, not two, but four potential COVID-19 vaccines.

They stayed open to exhaustively test hundreds of existing drugs, compounds and chemicals to see if they might be tools in the fight against the virus that causes COVID-19.

They stayed open to test new surveillance approaches to reduce the risk of COVID outbreaks among vulnerable populations, while also helping workers and companies return to normal productivity and function.

They stayed open to partner across campus and with local businesses to produce hand sanitizer to help protect essential employees across our community.

And they stayed open to work with business partners in our community to develop a ventilator that could be quickly manufactured and deployed to help address shortages of these lifesaving devices.

I know that the CSU community is not prone to bragging; we let our work speak for itself.  That’s what we’re doing in this critical moment: while many other institutions are focused on announcing a research reopening, we’re focused on continuing to conduct the incredible research we’ve been doing all along.

Nonetheless, I am excited to tell you all that we will indeed be expanding research operations in the next few weeks, bringing more researchers back into their labs and out to their fieldwork. That means next steps on dozens of exciting projects from every College and discipline, and it means innovative STEM research, impactful social science research, humanities interrogations of our world, and creative explorations in a variety of genres and media.

So to all of our researchers—faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate students, and undergrads—and to everyone across CSU who supports their work: thank you.  Under ordinary circumstances, it might not feel like much to simply assert that we’ve continued to work.  But these are not ordinary circumstances, and CSU is not an ordinary place. We continue our extraordinary research under extraordinary conditions, and for that we should all be extraordinarily proud.