This article was first published in BU Today on September 2, 2021. By Joel Brown.
We’re coming off a year unlike any other, where connections were virtual, teaching was hybrid, gatherings were severely limited, and maintaining the professor-student relationship was challenging. For a while, it looked like we might get back to normal this fall, but now, thanks to Delta, we cannot.
So the masking and COVID-19 testing will continue. But some change is evident. Learn from Anywhere has ended, and students and faculty are back face-to-face in the classroom. BU Today asked a sample of faculty from across campus what it means to them to get back to an in-person campus experience, even amidst continued uncertainty. Most were looking forward to a renewed interaction with students. Some also hope for changed attitudes after a year-and-a-half of pandemic disruption.
College of Fine Arts associate professor of playwriting and theater arts and BFA Performance cochair
I hope that despite all of the challenges that have brought us to this point, this fall will bring with it the opportunity for the types of discovery and inquiry in our classrooms, laboratories, and studios that I know I value immensely here at BU. Zoom and remote learning are wonderful tools. In terms of theatre, these tools helped to keep us connected and working throughout the pandemic. I’ve been amazed at the innovation, created by necessity, of virtual theatre. But this mode of practicing art cannot replace the humanity that is experienced during live theatre, and in order for students to fully learn and practice their craft, in-person interaction—that allows for shared breath and space and tangible community—is imperative. I’m looking forward to the generation of new art, and thus new life, with my students and colleagues alike.
Dean of CFA, CFA professor of theater, and CAS professor of English
It is my hope that everyone will once again experience the joy of standing—or sitting—with strangers. After months of remaining within social pods, we’re a little rusty at interacting with others. Attending arts events can help folks knock off that rust.
One of the gifts of a residential education is the presence of people from different places with varying experiences. We gather here at Boston University to be inspired by, and to learn from, others. These strangers—your roommate, the person in the seat next to you, the coworker down the hall—quickly become acquaintances, colleagues, and, often, lifelong friends.
Within the College of Fine Arts, we strive to create community. We—our students, staff, and faculty— believe that the arts enrich everyone’s lives. It is not uncommon for an attendee who may have arrived alone to depart deep in conversation with new friends after sharing in the experience of seeing a free play at the Booth Theatre, listening to a free symphony orchestra concert in the CFA Concert Hall, appreciating works of art at the Stone Gallery, and, of course, cheering alongside the BU Marching Band and Pep Band at events throughout our campus.
I hope that you will experience the joy of meeting new people through the dynamic arts offerings at BU. I am thrilled that you are here.