Reflections on 2021
Video opens with some introspective, jazzy music with some scenes of Brandeis, including Usen Castle and a sweeping view of campus.
Music stops as Courtney, the student union vice president, speaks in office: “2021... trying to think of when that even started.” Music picks back up.
More scenes of campus fade one into another, showing fall and early winter around the residence halls , the campus center, and buildings around campus.
Courtney continues to speak.. think a lot of opportunities came to fruition because of the pandemic. Although obviously it was a terrible event, I think that there was some positive things that came out of it.”
Krupa, the student union president, speaks from a different office: “One of the great things about this past year was the ability to transition back to an in-person semester specifically here at Brandeis and one of my favorite parts of it was just being able to attend all the clubs' events and even host some of our own events.”
As Krupa speaks about events, the scene shifts from her speaking to a shot of the Brandeis Chabad Hanukkah celebration, as well as photos of South Asian dancing on stage.
Krupa continues to speak in voice over as images of her and Courtney on a golf cart cross the screen. She says, “Another favorite thing that I had this semester was that Courtney and I got on the golf cart and we went around campus and we handed out Insomnia Cookies on Kindness Day and flowers from the Graduate Students Association just to make people's days better. That was really fun.”
The music comes up as a student waves at camera while grabbing something from a blue booth on campus and walks away.
Biology professor Melissa Kosinski-Collins speaks in a lab: “The best part this year has been having my students back in the classroom and to see their faces and to watch them in the lab this semester. They're coming in, they're doing experiments. Their smiles and their excitement about being part of that process, which has been solely online for the last year and a half, has been amazing. Just you know that they're excited to be here because they're just getting so excited by doing the experiments that they've been unable to do in person for so long.” While she speaks, images of students working in labs play behind voiceover.
Music shifts to a lower tempo, melancholy tune. Closeups of lights hanging from leafless trees transition into theater arts professor Isaiah Wooden speaking on stage with red chairs of audience seating in background.
He says, “I think one of the biggest struggles that students face this past year is just the uncertainty of it all. I think that there is a way that we imagine our college experience unfolding and so much about the past year and a half has been contradictory to those imaginings.”
While Isaiah speaks, scene transitions to split screen of two students acting remotely while socially distanced.
The scene transitions again to a swimmer adjusting her goggles at the pool. Voiceover beings as students dive into pool. Aria ‘23 is speaking to camera with rock wall and grass in background “Some of the struggles that I faced this past year were both academics and athletics. With academics, it was more just not having the connections with my professors that I would have liked to have. And then as far as athletics, we couldn't have our championship meet so it was just a big gap in my athletic career.”
The next student speaking is Peyton ‘25 standing in front of the science library: “One of the struggles I faced in this year was having lived with a single mother my whole life, I got very close to my mom and so grappling over the summer with the fact that I was going to be 5000 miles away from my mom and my dog in Hawaii was a challenging thing to think about over the summer.”
While Peyton speaks, several images of him with his mom at Brandeis and on their travels play across screen. While voiceover continues, Peyton, walks around campus on a cool wintery day.
Music picks up to a more up-tempo, friendly song. A hyperlapse of students engaging with blue booths on campus, filled with students and staff promoting their clubs and activities, plays.
Scene transitions back to Krupa saying, “I think the enthusiasm for the in-person semester allowed for a more vibrant, stronger campus culture especially this semester because a lot more events are being hosted. Clubs that couldn't host their events since their annual events since 2019, they came back in full swing ahead.” As Krupa speaks, several images of students performing with the Fafali Ghanaian drum and dance group, activities fair, and a student slacklining underscore her words.
Peyton begins to speak again. As he speaks in voiceover, he walks down hall to dining hall and sits down at table. He says: “When I first came to Brandeis in August, I was a little bit nervous coming from a small island in Hawaii. I was a little afraid that I wouldn't find that same aspect of community, but I think what I found even the first week or two in arriving at Brandeis was that this community is just as centered on community. I say that not as a cliche but I mean it in the sense that I would sit down in the dining hall and somebody would come up and sit in front of me. I didn't know who they were and they'd say "hey my name is so and so, nice to meet you" and so I was certainly nervous at first, but when I got here I realized Brandeis is really loving and really accepting, very community based, and I found a place here quite quickly.” As Peyton stops speaking, he looks out over Massell Pond.
Next, a short montage of campus scenes are set to music. The Light of Reason lights up, orientation leaders lead students in dance, and students walk across campus by the SCC. Scenes of a theater arts production on stage play.
Professor Isaiah Wooden speaks again, intercutting him speaking with scenes from a theater production: “It was really, really wonderful to return back to in-person theater-making with the students in part because theater is so much about the inter-subjective encounter being in a room with people and feeling together to exchange energy, to really get to see how the body moves in time and space.”
Finally, the shot returns to Professor Melissa Kosinski-Collins saying, “I miss my students, I just love the classroom. I'm just so lucky that I have this opportunity to be part of your experience and I'm so lucky that I reflect even on my own job and say I missed you so much. I can't wait to be back in the classroom again. That means you're special and this is
a special place and we missed it when it was gone.”
The clouds move across a darkening sky behind the Louis Brandeis statue in silhouette.
Music cuts on Brandeis University logo, ending the video.