No one will ever forget the spring 2020 semester. The COVID-19 crisis required changes that affected so many of our campus norms, routines and rituals. The exigency forced students into remote academic learning and profoundly limited their opportunities to safely socially engage. Faculty and staff also had to quickly change to the new reality by learning to address the myriad of student needs from afar.
Adjusting has been difficult, but our students, staff and faculty have met and continue to meet the challenges. Throughout this experience, our campus community has joined together to better ensure that we are taking care of one another. Much of the effort has fallen on the Division of Student Affairs. Chartwells and the Jane Gearhart Food Pantry have fed people. The Pat Walker Health Center and UREC have attended to the campus community’s physical and emotional wellness. Housing has orchestrated a mass student exodus from its facilities and also housed those who could not leave campus. The rest of the Division has worked extremely hard to ensure that students had access to activities and/or resources that would help them better manage the stress and strain that this crisis-induced new normal has caused.
We have seen hundreds of staff, faculty, alumni and friends step forward and make a donation to support three funds in the last two months. The Student Emergency Fund and the Student Veteran Emergency Fund have provided monetary resources to students in financial crisis at this time due to job losses. The Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Campus Food Pantry has seen usage more than double over the last few months. Thanks to all for your continued and generous donations, which are greatly appreciated all year long, but especially when we see so many members of our university community in crisis.
I remain honored to be part of this great Division because throughout this crisis, the staff have continued to manifest the value that binds us together – the support and success of our students. As long as we hold strong to our sense of mission, we need not fear about the challenges of tomorrow. For no matter how difficult this crisis becomes, we will respond to it with a collective energy and determination to ensure that every student receives the most and best that we can offer them.