Header Image: Britannica
First and foremost, we at the Collegian would like to say hello. Hello to the class of 2025. Welcome back to our dedicated upperclassmen and alumni, hello to all of the new and returning professors and staff at La Salle. Most of all, hello again to the readers of the Collegian. We’ve been around since 1931, and while we certainly can’t speak for every previous iteration of the Collegian, we appreciate you being by our side, and we can’t wait to continue this publication’s legacy.
We were there through the Spring 2020 semester, albeit as a PDF that got sent to your La Salle portal, we were there through the Fall 2020 semester when the world realized that maybe this temporary move to remote work and learning would last a bit more than a few months and yes, we were there last semester when we learned what the Collegian looks like in a pandemic-inspired online format. We never left, and we always tried our best to provide our community with news, entertainment and escape. But now, after all that, we continue to change and can definitively say “We’re still here.”
It has been one and a half years since former La Salle President Colleen Hanycz let the Lasallian community know that our little piece of Philadelphia at 20th and Olney was going to be largely empty for quite some time. Since then, we have gone through a lot of changes. As was mentioned in an article published in March 2021 by the former Editorial Board titled “COVID-19 and its impact on community at La Salle,” “almost half of La Salle’s sports teams have been cut, resident life has changed dramatically, clubs have made immense accommodations to their members and most importantly the education of each and every student has drastically shifted from traditional schooling to an online format.”
Add to that list that our President, Dean of the School of Business, Vice President For Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and significant portions of staff at every level have left or have been replaced and that we have come full circle back to in-person instruction and, yeah, we would say it has been an eventful time to be an Explorer over the past few years, for better or for worse.
We have progressed significantly, since even last semester, in terms of health and safety regulations, and the general anxiety caused by being on campus in a pandemic has been lessened. However, those social aspects of campus life are still a bit strange. While it is nostalgic and humorous to hear incoming first-year students ask how to get to Olney Transportation Center, what a Late Night event is or how to get to PackCity, when you take a step back, you realize that there are second, and even third-year students, asking the same questions — students that are members of the Lasallian community, but never had a true Lasallian experience. For the class of 2024, their first year, which was supposed to be a time to make friends, enter social circles, join student organizations and find their niche at La Salle was largely spent in front of a computer screen, or in a small bubble of people they barely knew. They have no stake in the Treetops versus B&G debate and most of them have never seen the inside of St. Basil’s Court or Neumann Hall, but, above all, some of them still have to find their way here.
We bring up this point to show that it is not just the first-year students exploring La Salle for the first time this year. All of us, faculty, upperclassmen, alumni and community alike, have things we miss, things we need to learn and things to figure out as a group. While we all readjust, we should take some time to remember what brought us all together in the first place: exploring. Our previous experiences with La Salle are great memories, but it is simply not the same university it was four years ago, or eight years ago, or any before that. We all have some exploring to do: seeing new faces, learning new things, understanding new perspectives and most importantly, learning how to thrive in the face of COVID.
To those exploring on campus, say hello to your fellow Lasallians, get to know some new faces, reconnect with some people you haven’t seen in a long time and keep supporting each other as we all explore this new world together. To those continuing their journey off-campus, graduated or remote members of the La Salle community, understand that while things are always changing, and constantly learning and understanding change can be difficult, if we all respect and connect with one another, we’ll get through it.
Welcome to the Fall 2021 semester.
— The Editorial Board