“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer”  Albert Camus

September usually heralds the start of football season, a time of returning to school, excitement and anticipation, camaraderie and generally good cheer.  Many things are different this year. 

From the COVID19 pandemic, the rioting in many large cities across the US, to the highly partisan political debates leading to what will likely be a hotly contested election, it is certainly possible to feel down, and who could blame us?

STOP!  Do a 180, pinch yourself, hard, look in the mirror.

Let’s look at all the positives around us.  We are living in the greatest country and civilization ever created on earth, with unparalleled wealth and freedoms.  We live in one of the most beautiful parts of this country, with natural beauty, moderate climate, caring neighbors, and endless opportunity. 

Dean Justin Schwartz (College of Engineering) has been issuing a weekly note to faculty, staff, and students.  In it he includes one inspirational quote each week.  I have read these with interest, hoping to find an uplifting message.  There is a common theme, woven through the thoughts expressed by some very talented writers and philosophers.  Namely that you cannot let your outlook, your perspective on life, your attitude be dictated by others or by situations beyond your control, rather it needs to be internally generated.

So, my message to you today is to take the responsibility to lift your own spirits, to not let others or events drag you down.  Enjoy the positives, recognize the value of things you can do, and know that even better days are ahead.  While you must not allow someone else to dictate your outlook on life, you can reach out for support, help to lift your spirits.  We are all in this together and our chapter can provide help, someone to talk to.  We are all in this together and for each other. 

On a very positive note, I received a notice that the CCCPSAA chapter has, once again, been recognized by the Penn State Alumni Association as one of the best in the world, having been awarded “Elm” level Group of Distinction, the highest recognition given by the PSAA.  This reflects the tremendous work done by the members of our chapter on a very broad range of social, community, and student support activities.  Many, many individuals deserve this recognition for their untiring efforts supporting our organization. 

One such individual I’d like to recognize is Kathy Hume, one of our Vice Presidents.  Kathy recently took the initiative to organize an event at the Cidery where 43 members enjoyed wine, cider, music, food, and face (mask) to face (mask) conversation.  The unique outside arrangement of tables allowed for meeting the guidelines for COVID19 mitigation, yet led to a really enjoyable evening.  Thank you Kathy and all who participated. 

Look for more innovative programs to come…............

Mike Erdman, President, CCCPSAA