Digital Summer Cover

in pursuit of purpose


"My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane,” a woman tells a man in a now ubiquitous cartoon by The New Yorker artist David Sipress. “Of all my cartoons, [this] is the most published, republished, tweeted, retweeted, liked, shared, or stolen and reprinted without my permission,” he wrote. Likely because it rings so true.  

Although the world has always given us humans a lot to contend with, it seems especially generous these days.

Many of us are feeling stressed, anxious, frightened and helpless. Depression among U.S. adults has jumped from 8.5% before the pandemic to 32.8% in 2021, according to the Boston University School of Public Health. For youth, minorities and those at the lowest economic levels, their outlook—and reality—is even more troubling. 

Wildcats are working hard to make the world a more caring, healthy and safe place. 

Where folks are living on less than $2 a day, they are there to teach, fund and empower.

Where veterans are physically and mentally wounded by war, they are there to revive their spirits. 

Where the world of work is facing a sea change and worker burnout is wide-ranging, they are there to guide.

Where children are without a safe, supportive place to be, they are there to provide and inspire.

Where police and first responders are dealing with increasingly intense situations under mounting pressures, they are there to support.

Where inflation and low wages make food a luxury item, they are there with healthy sustenance and solutions.

The alumni and their purposeful pursuits featured here are representative of some of the major issues our world faces — ones that will likely persist for near-future NMU alumni. 

In Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America, author and Harvard pollster John Della Volpe writes, “…as a consequence of an unfolding climate crisis, economic upheaval, gun violence, civil unrest, and increasingly brazen displays of intolerance, white nationalism, and hate, Zoomers [Gen Z, born in the late 1990s to early 2000s] have endured more adversity than any generation of young Americans in at least seventy years. And they know it. The failure of older generations to resolve these challenges weighs heavy on them. For them, America at times has resembled a dystopia. But they won’t sit back and take it. They’ve decided to fight their own war against injustice and inequality right here at home. They can be this century’s ‘Greatest Generation.’”

At NMU, we feel their struggle, but also see that passion, promise and commitment in our students every day. They give us hope.