Almost a year has passed since the pandemic stalked its way around the globe. It’s astounding to me how so much could get turned around and topsy-turvy so quickly. Across the country and Washington state, though, we’ve witnessed people persevere in the face of tragedy and hardship, finding hope and sharing comfort.

It’s a struggle everywhere. We spoke to Cougars around the world about their pandemic experiences, from Nikola Koprivica (’10 Intl. Busi.) in Serbia to Nicola Perera (’15 MA English) in Sri Lanka, and many countries in between. Their stories reflect our own in the United States, and it comes back to adapting and finding new ways to live.

Speaking of innovation, WSU researchers are taking a fresh look at old fuels, like hydrogen that launched the most powerful U.S. rockets. Green hydrogen, produced with renewable energy such as wind and hydropower, is poised to take its place in the array of energy sources we need to reduce climate change.

We also must change core problems around racial justice and the need for equity. WSU is committed to building a fairer and more just University and world, as called for by the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Those protests were reported by a number of Murrow College alumni, and their stories are told by Murrow instructor Wendy Raney McCann in this issue.

Last year affected more than humans, too. We saw the return of wildlife to many of our cities and towns as traffic lessened. WSU alumni with Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle have been tracking the coyotes, foxes, river otters, raccoons, and other animals throughout metropolitan neighborhoods.

Whenever there’s a disruption on the scale of 2020 and COVID-19, we’re bound to see changes in behavior and societal norms. WSU sociologists Christine Horne and Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson examined those new norms. They found political divides but also some commonalities.

One common need: taking care of ourselves and others in a time of crisis. We sought advice from WSU experts on making it through this time. And, as mentioned in past issues, we’ve got Cougs like Wayne Chang (’10 Civ. Eng.) with Doctors Without Borders stepping up to help people in need around the world, including the United States.

It’s often said that history repeats itself. Is there a benefit in circling back to the past to learn about our present? Nikki Brueggeman (’13 History) answers “most definitely” in her essay that tells us that history reminds us we’re not alone and that we have a duty to remember.

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