As we enter the fourteenth month of this global pandemic and many, though not all of us, receive our first and/or second immunization shots, we are grateful for the hopes, aspirations, and everyday know-how that has sustained us thus far through this remarkably challenging period. As spring returns to Durham, I am also reminded of the joys and lessons of gardening and cultivation. After hours attending meetings, teaching classes, or listening to students’ exciting project work on zoom each day, I have been eager and impatient to dig in the dirt and to plant tomatoes this past month. Too eager in fact. The abrupt cold snap that arrived on April Fools’ Day – and which frosted my tomatoes – reminded me of two things that gardening and leadership share: patience and a plan B. As many of us begin to glimpse a return to in person sociability, we need patience more than ever, as this pandemic continues to have power and to test our individual and collective resilience. And the plan Bs that we have been improvising since March 13, 2020 will continue to produce harvests, even if not the ones we may have originally imagined.
We are particularly inspired by the leadership work of a new cohort of Hart Fellows and our undergraduates in SOL, PEP, and LAPI. To our current students and the new cohort of Hart Fellows, congratulations! And to our former students and alumni, send an email with your whereabouts and aspirations for the coming growing season to our HLP Associate in Research, Ana Ramirez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Director, Hart Leadership Program