A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the concept of choosing a word for the year. As opposed to setting New Year’s resolutions, which often involves changing habit, a word of the year sets intention that can be carried forward in many aspects of life. As I think about out institution and the next 12 months, “engagement” may be a strong contender as UC Riverside’s 2024 word for several reasons.
First, engagement has many meanings that relate to our work. One definition comes from the verb engage, related to attraction of interest or participation (Oxford Languages) and denotes a level of curiosity and involvement. Another signifies an event occurring at a specific time.
Second, as a public research university, our mission is to unearth discovery through research, educate students, and share knowledge through community engagement. Educational programs available to the public provide cultural and intellectual enrichment while partnerships with industry create new avenues for economic development. According to the Carnegie Foundation, this is something we do very well. On January 8, we announced the news that UCR was selected as a 2024 recipient of the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
And finally, the opportunity for engagement isn’t limited to our external community members. These programs are also available to employees. Below you’ll find a few examples of upcoming events and activities that show how anyone can engage with UCR.
Southern California’s longest running literary event returns February 10. The 47th UCR Writers Week Festival will host more than 50 authors, a presentation of lifetime achievement awards, and student readings. Visit the website to learn more and register to attend.
Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture
Another longstanding event, the Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture, will take place on March 4 at 6 p.m. in University Theatre. This popular lecture series brings well-known journalists to the UCR campus for a discussion about important issues in the media. This year’s lecturer, Michael Barbaro, is a political journalist with The New York Times and host of the podcast, “The Daily,” which has built an audience of more than one million listeners a day. Register here.
Cultivating Mental Wellness: Supporting the Student Experience
On February 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in HUB 302, the Mental Health Allies will host a panel discussion, “Cultivating Mental Wellness: Supporting the Student Experience,” focused on how students can take a holistic approach to mental wellness. Be sure to RSVP.
UC Riverside Athletics
On February 3, designated as National Girls and Women in Sports Day, UCR Women’s Basketball hosts CSU Northridge at SRC Arena. On Feb 8, UCR Men’s Basketball defends their home turf when they play Cal State Bakersfield. And February 9-11, UCR Women’s Softball takes the field for the 2024 Lynn Russell Miller Classic. Get your tickets and come out to cheer on the Highlanders.
On Earth and on Mars
Two events at the Palm Desert center in February explore land on another planet and life in nearby deserts. In a Valentine’s Day talk titled, “Are We Alone: Mars Sample Return,” Rachel Kronyak, Systems Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena will discuss the collection of samples using the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. The following week, on February 22, Dr. Jeff Lovich of the U.S. Geological Survey will present information about the desert tortoises that live in both the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Registration is required to learn more about Mars or tortoises.
UCR is Dancing 2024
Dance major students will showcase their artistry at University Theater on Thursday, March 7 and Saturday, March 9. For more information on the show, times, and tickets, please visit the event calendar.
Thank you for the many ways that you engage in your work and with our community to fully deliver on this important part of our mission. I look forward to seeing you on campus as we enjoy the many special events that our community has to offer.