Welcome to the new academic year
As I start my second year as the Haas Center’s faculty director, it’s my pleasure to share some reflections and highlights of what we are looking forward to this year.
I’m happy to report that campus is buzzing. Students have told me that things feel different this year, more “normal,” whatever that means! Just in these first few weeks, the Haas Center has welcomed cohorts of Education Partnership Fellows, frosh participants in the Ignite public service pre-orientation program, and the Cardinal Service peer advisors using the space and making it their own.
We’re excited that in welcoming students back to campus for the 2022-23 school year, university leadership emphasized how important public service and principled community engagement are to a Stanford education. In his convocation address, President Tessier-Lavigne urged students to think of their education in terms of becoming engaged citizens of the world. He called out Democracy Day as an opportunity for students to participate in programs on engaged citizenship, and specifically urged students to explore Cardinal Service as a way to “put their academic talents to use serving the broader community.” We couldn’t agree more, and our doors are open for students seeking to do just that.
Taking the President up on the invitation, well over a thousand students came to the Cardinal Service Fair on the first Saturday of the academic year. Dozens of student and community organizations were on hand to introduce students to ways to be involved in the real-world issues that mean the most to them, from public interest technology, to environmental sustainability, to racial and economic justice at home and globally.
Throughout fall quarter, the Haas Center is leading a campus-wide campaign urging all members of the Stanford community – students, faculty, staff, and alumni – to reflect on their core values using the prompt What Do You StandFor? Exploring values through service. We have invited groups and individuals throughout campus and beyond to think deeply and share conversation about their values and how they can be lived out through service to others. For example, my water bottle boasts one of our stickers that says, “I StandFor JUSTICE,” and I tell anyone who asks (and even some who don’t!) that I try to express my commitment to justice by teaching law students how to represent low-income tenants facing eviction in our local community.
I am personally excited to be teaching, for the first time, a Haas-sponsored course called Public Service & Social Impact: Pathways to Purposeful Careers. About a hundred students are enrolled in this class, which is designed to introduce and showcase a wide range of public service career paths. Each week, I get to engage in conversation with a guest whose career illustrates one of our Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement. They share the social issues to which they have devoted their lives, how they fashioned a career in that field, and some of the most interesting challenges and dilemmas that they have faced. I ask each of them what their first job was out of college, and ask them to give advice to their 22-year-old self. It has been a great way show students how their core commitments can actually form the basis for meaningful professional work.
Finally, I want to acknowledge that we are operating this fall without an executive director. This gap has required our four associate directors to step up into center-wide leadership roles, and all staff to take on new responsibilities to make sure students, colleagues across campus, and community partners still get the high quality mentorship and partnership that the Haas Center is known for. The search for a new executive director is underway and going well, so watch this space for more information.
Thank you for your support of and commitment to the Haas Center, and to the students and community partners with whom we engage.