Welcome to Spring Term 2024: A Time of Light and Hope

Ultimately, Springtime in Eugene is beautiful, but that beauty only emerges after months of a dreary sky and rain. The fact that beauty can and, often does, emerge from the rainy seasons of our lives is an encouragement, as people across our world experience wars, conflicts, unnecessary suffering as well as death at home and abroad. 

This year, Springtime in Eugene is a time that diverse members of our community are celebrating Ramadan, Easter, and Passover.  As members of a university community, we are called to life-long learning, which hopefully includes broadening our understanding of the diverse ways that people worship and connect to their collective memories and tradition. Our shared commitment to one another, therefore, invites us to support the time that our students, staff and faculty take to honor cherished beliefs and traditions. 

Through these celebrations, we observe the ways in which trials and tribulations can lead to light and flourishing. For example, in Christianity, Easter (March 31 or May 5, in the Eastern Orthodox calendar) comes after 40 days of reflection and prayer to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Islam, Ramadan marks a holy month of the Islamic calendar, and it celebrates the revelation of the Holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is celebrated through a month-long fasting from food, human pleasures, water and other liquids during daylight hours, and also abstaining from vices, giving to charity, and showing kindnesses. Eid- al -Fitr (April 9) marks the end of Ramadan with accompanying feasts, gifts and prayers.  In Judaism, Passover (beginning the evening of April 22 through April 30) commemorates the Hebrews' liberation from slavery in Egypt and the “Passing Over” of the forces of destruction to spare the first-born of the Israelites on the eve of the ExodusThe Passover Seder, Seder the Hebrew word for Order, is a ceremonial dinner that, through a specific order of rituals and prayers, retell, relive and provide the opportunity to reinterpret the lessons learned from remembering the experiences of the ancient Hebrews’ journey of enslavement and liberation. 

In their own respective ways, faith traditions offer hope in the midst of unimaginable loss and tragedy. Let us, therefore, build on this hope and use it to inspire a lot more Love, Authenticity, Courage and Empathy (or LACE) during the Spring Term and beyond.