Connected In Community
April 3, 2020
Dear Loyola Community,
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. We continue to think of and pray for our first responders, our physicians and nurses, for our employees, students, and the most vulnerable among us.
Like you, despite Zoom meetings and phone conversations too numerous to count, I miss the in-person interactions with colleagues, students, and friends. Though our campuses may be quiet, Loyola remains very active.
Every day, people ask me what more each of us can be doing. That’s the Loyola spirit! There is definitely something we all need to do more of, starting today. We need to support each other, especially our current students, now more than ever. Let’s be creative and make the time to really care for each other.
I encourage all faculty to take some time during some of your classes to check in with your students and just ask them how they are doing. Please make sure they are aware of the messages on the website pertaining to registration, Pass/no Pass options, emergency financial aid resources, and wellness center support services. We want to support our students throughout this semester and ensure they are excited about returning for their next semester.
Staff members, please reach out to your colleagues and check in on their wellbeing, especially those teammates who, while still receiving their pay and benefits, have been unable to work from home and may feel isolated from our community. It is important that we retain our staff members as we look forward to reopening our campus operations when possible. Also, for many of you who support students, reach out to them. Check on how they are doing and make sure they are up to date on information and resources best accessed through the website.
Students, you are finding many creative ways to stay in touch and support each other. Please go the extra mile and think about classmates or members of your organizations who you may not have heard from recently. Please touch base with them and spread the word about the website, surveys we have sent out, and valuable resources (yes, the writing center is still very much “open”—virtually, of course!). We want to hear about your classes and thoughts from our soon-to-be graduates about the August graduation celebrations.
There will be more that we will ask of everyone in the days ahead to support retention of students, faculty, and staff, as well as the recruitment of new students to our campuses. The enormous adaptation, ingenuity, and flexibility everyone has shown to learning and working exclusively online continues to demonstrate, very clearly, that what makes Loyola special and unique as a university transcends even the greatest challenges.
As we focus on the successful completion of this semester, let us start shifting our focus toward the future. Each day, think about how you can support efforts to recruit and retain students and care for faculty and staff. Make it a practice every day to check out updates on the website so that you can pass on the information. This will be the best source of information where you can stay on top of developments at Loyola; resources for mental, physical, and spiritual care; and up-to-date guidance from public-health agencies.. Finally, be ready to answer the call to add that personal Rambler touch as we announce new ways to support our enrollment team in reaching out to our newly accepted students across all programs.
Amidst all of the activity, it remains very important for each of us to find some personal space and balance. I continue to encourage each of us find a few quiet moments to pause and consider our personal and professional blessings and our solidarity with all people. As we close this week and look toward next week when many of us will celebrate Passover and Easter, I share this prayer by one of our own graduate students, Jesuit scholastic Christopher Holownia (thank you Christopher for allowing me to share this with everyone):
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
I remain enormously grateful for the many ways our community has pulled together and supported each other through these tremendous challenges and for the ways I am confident we will sustain this energy for the ongoing calls to action. Please care for yourselves, your families, and neighbors, and know that you are in my prayers.
Jo Ann Rooney JD, LLM, EdD