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A Time of Change

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Change is hard. But the status quo can be worse.

Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have learned to master, by necessity, new things. That may include working from home or working from home while your children are also working on their schoolwork from home. The pandemic has disrupted so many rhythms we used to take for granted. The maskless stroll across campus for a 3 o’clock cookie. Dinner and a movie. Hugs.

Sometimes change can’t come fast enough. Like news of a promising vaccine coming to market, relief for anxiety worsened by isolation, or in the case of our cover story, the restoration of a homeland once lost. Meaningful change doesn’t often happen overnight. It requires intention, persistence, and faith that conditions can improve. We focused the winter 2021 issue on health because we wanted to identify Utah State University resources and expertise for those struggling during this time of COVID-19 and to share stories that can uplift our shaken spirits.

The cover story “A Healing Ground” has been on our radar at Utah State since 2018 when the Northwestern Band of Shoshone purchased the 550-acre site of the Bear River Massacre where the remains of their ancestors still lay. The tribe’s former ceremonial grounds also mark the country’s largest slaughter of Native Americans in the West by the government. The partnership between the Shoshone and researchers at the S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources will take years to restore the landscape. It requires more than removing nonnative plants and trees and planting new seeds. It involves restoring the watershed, which entails buy in from neighbors upstream. It won’t be something the Shoshone can do alone.

Healing begins when you bring people together, says Will Munger, a USU Ph.D. student in the Department of Environment and Society working on the project. He may be right.

During this time of turmoil, Utah State will publish two issues a year. While we are finalizing the new print schedule, we are devising new plans to engage with readers throughout the year through digital issues and events. We will pivot, and hopefully, master a new thing or two.

Kristen Munson, Executive Editor

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