Student body officers and a panel of faculty and staff welcomed back WSU’s student body during the Virtual Kickoff for 2020’s fall semester on Aug. 27th.

president brad mortensen
Brad L. Mortensen is the President of Weber State University. (Adam Rubin / The Signpost)

Guest speaker and WSU graduate Ufo Eric-Atuanya began the virtual meeting by sharing his professional experiences in the U.S. political realm and international relations, and how his far-flung and diverse career path started at WSU. Eric-Atuanya’s story is unique and heavily-founded in his formative educational experience at WSU, demonstrating that a student can take a WSU education anywhere in the world.

“Being a big fish in a small pond can take you from Ogden, Utah, all the way to Vienna,” Eric-Atuanya said.

As he spoke, Eric-Atuanya reminded the student body that from times of crisis emerge tomorrow’s leaders. It is a bizarre time and Eric-Atuanya urged all students to make the most of the opportunities presented to them.

Student Body President Ben Ferney and student senators, Paige Dawson, Jimmy Town and Amanda Jones also spoke during the Kickoff. Although the way students are engaging and learning this semester is non-traditional, all the student senators encouraged the student-body to utilize the tools and social events and make this a strong semester.

“We are here, we made it. We’re going, the light is green,” Ferney said. “This is going to be a semester of growth, adapting and innovating.”

Ferney suggested that rather than wishing away the current situation or wanting society to go back to a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy, that students find the reasons to keep going forward and be present in the here-and-now.

Eric-Atuanya and the student leaders touched on themes of making friends and keeping close with family, coming with an open mind and sharing cultures together.

President Brad Mortensen also advised WSU’s student body to attend virtual events this semester. Making the most of educational opportunities in the face of challenges can help build a stronger foundation for the future of WSU.

The faculty and student leaders expressed the importance of not hesitating to reach out—even during this socially-restricted semester—and taking advantage of creating a network to build our futures; with every crisis comes opportunity. It’s up to the Wildcat Family to be brave, proactive and move forward together.

Editor’s Note: Ufo Eric-Atuanya’s name was misspelled in the original publication. His name has been corrected above.

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