It is with great pride and awe that I meet individual students who went through such disparate, yet meaningful, selection processes to get here.  Welcome to them, and welcome back to our many students, faculty, staff, volunteers and residents who make Pearson College UWC such a special place to live and work.

We have already talked as a community about how this is a lifelong process of involvement, starting with a short course or an application and continuing in choices and approaches to life situations later.

For some of us that includes contributing professionally to UWC. I have worked personally with most of the 155 national committees in the world and I serve on international committees looking at our processes and systems.  Mostly, I am grateful each day for the chance to interact with current students and draw parallels in classes with laptops and projectors to those with refillable fountain pens and recycled lined paper.

The topics we are discussing around peace, communicating across difference, reconciliation, environmental challenges, and our place in the natural world remain constant, while the contexts change with time. Often these conversations start in the dining hall.

For many students, their academic program builds neatly on their previous knowledge and previous experience of school. For many more, our program offers them a chance to start ‘new’ subjects like Economics or Marine Science and to be in a rigorous, yet informal learning environment for the first time, where teachers really do go by their first names.

For some students, this is the first time they are studying (and living) in English and there are new challenges to complete even straightforward academic tasks.  We are here to support each one of these learners, and I look forward to witnessing their development and growth over their time here and beyond.

As fall continues, students are reaching beyond classes and residential life into projects of their own choosing and the chance to learn new skills related to land and sea, service and creative endeavors. This part of our program is where we come together both meaningfully and practically to work on collective goals and achieve broader impact. It is rich ground for reflection and a real chance to practice skillful inquiry, intercultural communication, difficult conversations and creative problem solving. It also can be a lot of fun.

I expect many of the photographs in this newsletter going forward will harken to these activities and that many meaningful community connections can be traced back to an activity or a group of students taking an initiative to go outside their daily routine.

Enjoy more stories of our community near and far on our various platforms – and look out for evidence of our education being a force to unite for peace and a sustainable future.

Heather Gross
Vice President of Education and Programming