A New Semester: Welcome from Das Tor’s Editor-in-Chief

Sophie Dessart

Sophie Dessart

Das Tor Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to the Fall 2021 semester, T-birds! I am so excited and grateful to begin this new semester with you as Das Tor’s Editor-in-Chief. 

For returning students like myself, there are parts of beginning a new semester that feel familiar—buying notebooks and Harvard Coursepacks, meeting new professors, reading through the syllabuses, and wondering how on earth we’ll be able to balance classes, extracurriculars, and everyday challenges that life throws at us. 

However, there are new experiences even for us returning students. I, for one, will be attending classes in person for the very first time this fall. At this time last year, I was living in Spain, preparing to start classes virtually due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. I know I’m not the only returning student experiencing the excitement of meeting all my colleagues and professors in person for the first time.

To our new students, welcome! You have joined not just a college—you have joined a family. I know I speak for returning students when I say I look forward to meeting all of you. At Das Tor, we look forward to telling your stories and celebrating what makes you unique. We want to expand our writing and podcast teams, so feel free to reach out to me or any on the Das Tor team to see how you can get involved. 

Looking to the future, this semester promises to be an exciting one. Everyone at Thunderbird will experience our new global headquarters for the first time! Das Tor has a spot in the new building—Office 239A on the second floor—so please feel free to stop by and see us. We’re all looking forward to Thunderbird’s 75th anniversary celebration, and Das Tor has some special publications planned for that, so be sure to keep checking back every Monday to see what’s new.

Aside from our special features for the 75th anniversary, this semester will bring new Das Tor publications and series as well. Das Tor is thrilled to finally launch ThunderCast, a podcast that represents the voices of Thunderbirds around the globe. Tune in on the 30th of August for our first episode, which explores the experiences of students who traveled abroad during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Das Tor also is launching our Student Success Spotlights series this semester, featuring articles written by the hard-working staff members who make up the Student Success Team at Thunderbird. We’re also highlighting the summer internship experiences of T-birds around the globe. Of course, we’ll continue other well-loved series, such as our Thunderbird Portraits.

As I conclude this welcome to the semester, I want to recognize that everything is not perfect. COVID-19 has impacted and will continue to impact all of our lives. We know that some of our colleagues are struggling to make it to Phoenix in person. Even Das Tor’s Executive Team is impacted, with our Secretary and Treasurer Dushiime Kaguliro waiting to receive her visa in Uganda. We’ll be featuring her story, and those of other students, in a new series exploring students’ immigration experiences in the midst of the pandemic.

While more and more of us are vaccinated, the virus remains a sobering reality both in the U.S. and around the world. However, we will prevail. We’re T-birds, and any challenge, even that of a pandemic, will not dominate us. We all chose to take on the challenge of Thunderbird in the middle of a global pandemic. This speaks to our character, and I am honored to be attending classes with such a brave and talented group of students. 

Last year, our motto was “Collaborate to graduate.” The Das Tor team and I look forward to continuing that tradition this semester and beyond. Welcome to Fall 2021, my fellow T-birds! Let’s get this done together.


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