These are strange times, indeed. It’s the middle of spring break, but the campus is emptying out for the rest of the semester. Friends are saying goodbye in Middletown, or expressing sadness at already being so far apart. Anxiety hovers over us all as we deal with the disappointment of finishing our school year through distance learning while we yearn for connections with one another. But it’s the connections that put us at risk.
Well, it’s physical connections that put us at risk. We can — we must — connect with one another in other ways. In the coming weeks, we will share academic work through various platforms online, and we will talk to our friends, share music, photos and stories through our lively networks. In addition to the new materials we will generate, there are many videos, works of art and music already available through the Wesleyan website. We can watch them together, and we can find ways to talk about them — even at a great distance. It won’t be the same as sitting around Usdan, or chatting by the gym, or hanging in a wood frame, but it will preserve some of our connectivity. We don’t have to be isolated from one another in spirit.
Many of you will keep journals during this period — some in notebooks, others in podcast form, while others in videos. We will find ways to connect people registering their experiences. We want to hear from you. More on this soon.
Students are stepping up in big ways to help one another, and faculty and staff are finding ways to support those who need it the most. There are various efforts underway to give assistance to those at risk. No surprise, I prefer using official channels to ad hoc, if well-meaning, private projects. Students who need emergency funding are asked to contact Dean Mike Whaley (firstname.lastname@example.org). Members of the extended Wesleyan family who want to donate to the fund can do so here.
It’s a frightening time, to be sure. But we will depend on one another, deepen our connections with one another, so that when we come back to campus, we will be the stronger for having gone through all this.