On the tail of Sustainability and the Environment, it made perfect sense for the 2020-2021 campus theme to be WATER. The theme intended to engage the campus community in immersive and intellectual experiences to explore water through myriad lenses (economic, political, educational, cultural, geographic, environmental, and others) and to heighten the community’s understanding of how it impacts self, the region, the nation, and the world.
Programming efforts at WCU looked very different during the 2020-2021 academic year due to the global COVID pandemic. As a result, it was decided that WATER would be extended into the 2021-2022 academic year. Co-chaired by Eli Collins-Brown, Director of Coulter Faculty Commons and Bruce Gehrig, Joe W. Kimmel Distinguished Professor of Construction Management and Director of the Kimmel School of Construction Management, the steering committee, many of whom also served for two academic years, awarded over $20,000 to more than 10 applicants to help educate the campus community on topics related to water.
Water was also the theme for the OneBook selections for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years. I 2020-2021 the selection was The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman and in 2020-2021 students read The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma by Alex Kotlowitz.