A post from Seth Soloway, Director of The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College
Today is August 31, the first day of classes at Purchase College. So I’m here, watching us get underway and supervising. And I’ve watched Christy Havard, Director of Production, mop the dance floor, and Operations Manager Dan Sedgwick put up signs. I’ve seen Pete Specce, Assistant Director of Production, lower the pit to get the drums in safely, and Technical Assistant Oscar Portillo learn to use a spray mister. House Operations Director Janice Kahl is working away on Personnel Action Forms so her staff can be redeployed to help out all over campus, and the stagehands are wearing booties to make sure floors stay sanitized.
These are all mundane and ultimately benign things during normal times. But times being so abnormal, watching these activities struck a chord with me. It’s surreal to be here. And, honestly, I find myself wondering so many things – are we being diligent enough, can we keep it up, why did we end up here?
But do you know what else really struck me watching these tasks? The students. The students are upbeat, and they seem truly happy to be here. So that right there, that’s the “why.”
We are here because ultimately we are all educators. A College education is a powerful thing, critical to the futures of many, and we are doing our part to help provide it this fall. Then I’m thinking about all of the recent talk of what’s essential and this thought hit me – if we are of the mind that we are here because education is essential, then in this moment we are all essential workers. Christy mopping, Pete moving the lift, Dan putting up signs, all of these benign things are now essential.
This is what essential means at The PAC. This is what essential means at Purchase.
Photos by Christy Havard.