Isn’t it amazing what an organized community working together on a single problem can accomplish?

As many of you know, I am a geology and science education professor at the University of Cincinnati.  As a result of the current pandemic, not only are most universities meeting and teaching online-only for the remainder of spring, but most are now requiring all summer courses be taught online. The summer is when most geology students truly learn about Earth’s processes by applying their classroom knowledge to field-based scenarios.  Unfortunately, most geology departments across the country are now cancelling summer field courses.  Students need these experiences to complete their programs to graduate.  Graduate schools require it; professional industry demands it. 

A couple of weeks ago, I hosted an online webinar entitled Designing Remote Geology Field Courses to see how many needed support in considering how field experiences could be taught through distance learning.  The turnout was more than I had anticipated – 160 geology field instructors from as far away as New Zealand and across the UK.  Since then, this group has grown to over 300 geology field instructors world-wide, and is supported by an online workspace hosted by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Imagine having 300 experts all working together to solve a problem?  Many field courses are scheduled to begin as soon as May 15.  We anticipate that we will have peer-reviewed, online instructional modules that will support the delivery of field-intensive geology content ready to roll-out as soon as May 1, and will continue throughout the summer. 

Our fraternity presents similar opportunities for us to serve.  We already have a natural supports built around us: a community of brothers who are often as close to us as our own family. 

When you hear the call, I hope you answer it.  Pick up your working tools and put your expertise to work, my friends.  Be proactive and help those who are in need.  When we rise from the ashes of this crisis, the world is going to look, and act, much differently than any of us are familiar with.  My grandfathers’ fraternity, immediately following WWII, was the center piece of most every small community.  Now is our time. We can be that organization once again. 

Be flexible, be open to change, but most of all, be ready to lead and be the glue that binds our communities together.  Your fraternity and your community is counting on you.  How will you respond to the call?   

Fraternally, and most sincerely,

Christopher Atchison