At the end of last week, we sent this message to the campus community
Like many here on campus, my approach to Thanksgiving includes trying to get through a backlog of work and meeting a variety of pressing obligations while also keeping one eye on the approaching holidays. What a semester it has been! We arrived in Middletown in late summer as the Delta variant was surging in different parts of the country, and although we had our vaccinations and testing, we were fearful that our lives would once again be turned upside down by the pandemic.
Yet, despite our frequent testing, wearing masks indoors, eating outside whenever possible, and exercising common sense hygiene, it has been a great semester. I’ve looked forward to seeing my students each week in class, and they’ve seemed engaged, hard-working, and creative. The Wesleyan Student Assembly has been thoughtful in advocating for campus needs, both short term and long term. Athletes had impressive fall seasons, as had theater people and musicians. The tents and outdoor dining options have been filled with smiling Wesleyans making the most of their time here.
Still, I have the pandemic jitters. After all, close to 800,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and infection levels are rising with the cold weather. If we maintain our vigilance, though, if we continue to take care of one another, we can live with the virus without being dominated by it. I am deeply grateful to everyone on campus for their efforts—from food workers who make sure students in isolation are well fed, to faculty and staff who go the extra mile to ensure that everyone has opportunities to thrive. I am filled with thanks for our Wesleyan students who have more than managed through this crisis—they have found creative, sometimes joyful ways of making this semester work despite the pandemic.
So, as we head into the Thanksgiving break, I want to express my deep gratitude to everyone at Wesleyan (and the folks who support those of us on campus).
Have a peaceful holiday and stay well!
Michael S. Roth