This message went out today, and now we are preparing for the arrival of more students AND MORE SNOW! Stay safe and keep warm!
Welcome back to campus for the Spring 2022 semester! For those that have been steadily working throughout winter session, thank you for your efforts!
As we ended 2021, there was a degree of uncertainty as to how COVID-19 might impact the spring semester and our overall operations. The precautionary measures we’ve put in place for the coming term should help keep us “safe enough” to have a semester filled with exuberant learning in and outside the classroom. While we are starting off the semester with a few restrictions, we hope to ease those as soon as we know our plans are working as expected. You can always find the latest information on our Keep Wes Safe website.
I look forward to seeing you all around campus for what promises to be an inspired semester.
The following message will be sent to the campus community this afternoon.
Given the rise in COVID-19 cases and predictions about the trajectory of the pandemic, Wesleyan will delay the beginning of spring semester classes until Thursday, January 27. Spring break will now be March 12–20.
Classes on Thursday, January 27 and Friday, January 28 will be held virtually before in-person classes resume on Monday, January 31. This will allow students to be tested for COVID-19 at Beckham Hall, and receive results, before they return to in-person learning. Housing will open beginning Thursday, January 27. For more information, students should contact the Office of Residential Life. Students may attend virtual classes January 27-28 from home or on campus, depending on when they move back into campus housing.
All students will be expected to get a COVID-19 test no later than two daysprior to arriving at Wesleyan. A PCR test is preferable, but if that is not possible, a rapid test is sufficient. (You may wish to use the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services nationwide testing locator to find the nearest testing site in your hometown.) Please remain vigilant and follow safety protocols—including wearing a mask indoors. There will be a link in WesPortal next week to upload your negative test results. If you test positive, please contact Davison Health Center and do not come to campus until cleared to do so.
For those on campus, COVID-19 testing resumes on January 17. All students are required to test twice weekly, and faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to test twice weekly. Employees with approved vaccine exemptions are nowrequired to test twice a week, beginning January 17. January testing schedules for Beckham Hall can be found on Keep Wes Safe.
As a reminder, all students must have a COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine to register for classes. All faculty and staff must receive a booster within 30 days of CDC eligibility, in order to be in compliance with the University booster policy. The updated vaccination card should be uploaded to WesPortal, reporting the date on which they received their booster shot, by Friday, January 14.
The University will follow the new CDC recommendations regarding isolation. People with COVID-19 must isolate for five days, and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), the isolation period will be followed by five days of wearing a mask to minimize the risk of infecting others. Learn more about the University’s new isolation protocol.
Masks will continue to be required indoors on campus except in one’s own private residential bedroom or in one’s own private office. This includes in shared public spaces, such as classrooms/meeting rooms, the library, dining, and residential common areas. For those who are unvaccinated, masks must be worn indoors and outdoors.
We remain optimistic that with these precautionary measures and your cooperation, our in-person spring semester will be both safe and engaging. We will be holding webinars in the coming weeks to answer questions and offer more detailed descriptions of our plans. A webinar for staff and faculty will be held on Friday, January 14 at 10am; a webinar for students and parents will be held that day at noon. Invitations are forthcoming and will also be found on Keep Wes Safe.
This pandemic has exacted a scarcely imaginable toll around the world. As the new year begins, we acknowledge these losses with sorrow and compassion. We are also hopeful that 2022 will be a year bright with positive possibilities. Thank you for doing your part by keeping our community as safe as possible.
As we near the end of 2021, there is much for us all to acknowledge and celebrate. This has been a year filled with many challenges, both here on campus and throughout the world. The pandemic’s ongoing devastation has caused great anxiety and sorrow, but it has also stirred countless acts of dedication and generosity. Please take a moment to recognize Wesleyan’s bold and caring accomplishments—this university would not be possible without our entire community.
We hope that this upcoming break allows for some much-deserved rest and rejuvenation. When we return in 2022, we’ll hit the ground with the same exuberance and thoughtfulness that carried us through 2021.
Kari and I extend our warm good wishes for the holidays.
Yesterday I had the inspiring experience of welcoming new members to Wesleyan’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa — the national honor society celebrating academic excellence. Most new members are brought into the society in the spring just before graduation, but an especially distinguished group is chosen in December. I was so impressed by the variety of interests, academic research, creative practice and extra-curriculars shown by the students — and often that variety was found in EACH of the inductees.
Our masks could not conceal our delight as we cheered on these all-stars. Welcome to Phi Beta Kappa!
Tomorrow, November 30, is Giving Tuesday, a chance to support organizations around the world doing important work to alleviate suffering and create opportunity. This is Wesleyan’s eighth year of participating in #GivingTuesday. Over the years, thousands of alumni, parents, students, and friends have chosen to support their alma mater on this day. By giving to Wesleyan, donors have together unlocked millions of dollars in matching funds for Financial Aid.
In this year’s challenge, trustee Sarah Kendall ’77, P’14 will match every gift made on #GivingTuesday with a dollar-for-dollar contribution—up to $150,000—for Financial Aid.
The collective action of alumni to support students has enormous power. Won’t you join us by using this link?
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).
I was preparing for class this morning (teaching Nietzsche and the problem of fate in Out of the Past) when I heard that Wesleyan’s indomitable men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, Nietzch Factor, qualified on Sunday to play in the National Tournament. It’s the first time in eight years and “only the second time this century.”
Congratulations to this merry, talented, group of athletes!
These often unsung heroes are raising money to get to the tournament in LA. Want to help? They have a GoFundMe page.
In any event, wish them well and cheer them on! Amor fati!!
As the women’s soccer and volleyball teams prepare for the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament this weekend, we can now celebrate some extraordinary honors bestowed on our teams by the NESCAC Conference. First, the coaches:
Geoff Wheeler, head coach of men’s soccer, has been named Conference Coach-of-the-Year. This was Geoff’s 23rd season at Wesleyan, and the third time he has won this honor. The team this year made use of its real depth, with 14 different players scoring goals!
Eva Meredith, head coach of women’s soccer, has also been named Conference Coach-of-the-Year. This was Eva’s 18th season as coach, and it has been a truly magical one. She leads a team that plays with smarts and with passion.
Now, the players:
(Volleyball) Jenna Otaola ’22 was named Defensive-Player-of-the-Year by NESCAC. Jenna is part of an amazing group of athletes, and she is a dominant defensive force with 59 more digs than the next-closest player in the NESCAC leaderboard! Jenna is joined by honorees Brina Kuslak ’22 and Mariko Tanaka ’24, both of whom were named to the all-star second team.
(Women’s Soccer) Grace Devanny ’23 has been named Player-of-the-Year in NESCAC. The engine of the Cardinal’s offense, Grace is a joy to watch as she sets up teammates or curls one of her own shots into the net. Julia Meehan’22 joins Grace on the first team of NESCAC all-stars, and Sarah Hammond ’22 made the second team.
(Men’s Soccer) Liam Devanny ’23 (yes, a sibling) was named to the all-NESCAC second team for his stellar work in goal. He is joined by Lucas Ruehlemann ’25 on the second team to which he was named for his extraordinary ability to make passes that put teammates in a position to score.
(Field Hockey) Diana Schwarz ’23 was named to NESCAC’s second all-star team. She led the team in goals, the first player in more than a decade to end up in double figures in that stat.
What a fall! There are more matches to play, but please join me in celebrating these extraordinary coaches, and student-athletes.
On this Veteran’s Day, I’m reposting from last year. I am so grateful for the many contributions that faculty and students are making to our campus.
Today, November 11th, is Veterans Day, a great time to acknowledge the service of the many in the Wesleyan community who have served in the U.S. armed forces. In 1918, the Armistice was signed on November 11th, and after that brutal conflict that left tens of millions dead and wounded, the world hoped to put war behind us. Alas, that was not to be, and over the last hundred years, we have at various times depended on servicemen and servicewomen to step into the breach.
There are now more than three million post-9/11 veterans, and many of them want to continue their education after leaving the service. About seven years ago, Wesleyan began partnering with the Posse Foundation to recruit veterans interested in a liberal education at the highest level. These students have contributed immeasurably to our campus culture, and I am very grateful for their participation in all dimensions of campus life. A few years after beginning our partnership with Posse, we began recruiting faculty members with military experience and academic expertise to teach at Wesleyan. The divide between civilian and military culture does a disservice to both, and Professors Robert Cassidy and Joseph Slaughter make many contributions inside and outside the classroom.
You can read about a few of our Posse Veteran students here and here, and learn more about the research and teaching of Professors Cassidy and Slaughter on our website. Wishing all a good Veterans Day!
We are welcoming alumni and parents back home to campus this weekend. We have many great programs and athletic events planned, and although the weather will be challenging on Saturday….all you need are the right clothes! The women’s soccer team has had a magical season this year, and they continue at home on Jackson field Saturday at 12:30 vs Bowdoin. The football team tries to continue its undefeated season against Amherst on Andrus Field at 1:00 pm. There’s lots of other things happening on campus, and you can find the program here.
My favorite part of Halloween these days is the parade of preschoolers who walk across campus to trick or treat. Olivia Drake snapped a few pictures this morning in front of South College.
Homecoming and Halloween highlight some of the strengths of our community, and I’m reminded of how fortunate we are this year to be able to celebrate together.