How do you measure a year like 2020? Not easily in words. Instead, we took a look back in photos, compiling 20 of our most popular Instagram posts of the year. What follows is by no means a comprehensive history, but rather a collection of snapshots that resonated with our audiences during some of the most memorable moments in a year unlike any other in the University's history.
For our New York City campus, the Spring 2020 semester started out the way so many have—with the bustle of students on campus, the brief hush after a snowstorm, and numerous reasons to celebrate our accomplished students and faculty.
A March none of us will ever forget brought an abrupt shift to remote learning to curb the spread of COVID-19, while NYU's researchers and front-line workers stepped up in the fight against the pandemic.
Graduation festivities were virtual, with the Class of 2020 and their families tuning in from all over the world, while in New York, the Empire State Building honored them with its glowing violet salute.
This was also the year that our University community, along with the nation, mourned the passing of two pivotal figures in American civil rights and legal history. Both John Lewis, who died in July, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September, had previously received honorary degrees from NYU.
The summer was spent developing comprehensive testing, tracing, and quarantining plans and outfitting campus for the safe return of some students, faculty, and staff for in-person activities in the fall.
A carefully orchestrated move-in process—with time built in for quarantining before the start of the semester—brought students back to campus for the first time since March. Classes began in September with some meeting exclusively on Zoom, while others offered an in-person option, with modifications for social distancing in place.
Understatement: We learned to do things differently during the fall semester. Socializing moved outdoors—with masks and plenty of distance. Long city walks became the go-to antidote to Zoom fatigue. Holidays and other occasions were celebrated online. None of it was perfect, but we were continually inspired by the ways our communtiy found to make it work.
Whatever 2021 brings—including, happily, effective vaccines and other treatments!—we're grateful for the many ways our NYU community has risen to meet unprecedented challenges over this past year. And we continue to celebrate, as always, the contributions of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni (plus honorary degree recipients!) toward building a brighter future.