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We’re well into summer here at HDS and there’s a different feel to the campus. Many students have left us for field education internships that have taken them from locations as close as local hospitals and churches to places as far flung as Ireland and Mexico. Other students have remained here to study a language in the Summer Language Program (SLP), our language intensive that packs two semesters’ worth of foreign language study into eight short weeks.

As we prepare to kick off our Bicentennial Celebration with the incoming class’s arrival in August, the signs of “sprucing” abound….

As the heat rises, so too does the green-clad scaffolding around Andover Hall at the heart of our campus. As we prepare to kick off our Bicentennial Celebration with the incoming class’s arrival in August, the signs of “sprucing” abound: bulletin boards are being reconfigured; extra periodical stacks in the library have made way for more collaborative spaces and flexible seating arrangements; Andover Chapel’s iconic wooden chairs huddle beneath blue tarp as the dust of renovation swirls; the distinguished luminaries who usually gaze down on us from the walls of the Braun Room have been whisked away for refurbishment.

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And yet, even amid the bustle of these efforts, a kind of muted calm prevails. Fewer voices are heard in the halls of Divinity, Rockefeller, and Andover; fewer people seen treading the paths of the Green. In the absence of classes, office hours are more leisurely affairs, the murmur of theories and ideas blending with recollections and reminiscences as they spill through half-open doors into the quiet warrens of faculty offices.

This is HDS in the summer: fewer classes, with their attendant readings and sections and papers; fewer lectures and book signings; fewer plays and performances; fewer things to fear missing out on. And in their place? A bit more time. Time for impromptu chats with professors on the quad. Time for drinks and fellowship at a local brewery to celebrate surviving another week of SLP. Time for reconnecting with the friends who’ve remained close at hand and reaching out to those who’ve traveled around the world, reveling in their tales of adventure and service and meaning-making.

This is HDS in the summer: less FOMO, more time.

There’s time too for abiding in this place where we are—for looking around at the signs and symbols that surround us here at HDS and the University of which we’re a part. In the coming weeks I’ll be using this blog to do just that: to explore the tapestry of meaning woven throughout HDS in these spaces suffused with summer before fall’s festivities begin.

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