Today's Update: Tuesday, March 30

March 30, 2021

Dear Student Life Team, We may not have all the answers about summer and autumn semester, but we know most of the questions. And that’s progress. 

Last year at this time we were faced with figuring out how to completely turn around the entire model of how we in student affairs do business.

We had to go from our customary high-touch high-contact method of operation into one that was nearly entirely virtual.  

It was something none of us had ever faced before. We had to figure out how to make it work, totally on the fly...a good colleague of mine talked about it as building the plane while we were flying it, which today seems just as terrifying as it did at the time. It seemed like every possible decision begat even more questions in a never-ending cascade that threatened to overwhelm us. 

Still, we figured it out. We methodically considered all the options and implications and did a Scarlet and Great job of supporting our students under the most difficult conditions.  

Now, as we plan for summer and fall, we have a year of experience behind us. We’ve seen what works, what doesn’t. 

That experience is invaluable now in our planning. We are working as a university to make decisions, and we know the if/then cascade of developing a cohesive plan.  

Here in Student Life, we have organized our planning in much the same way we did last spring and for each semester since then. I have pulled together a cross-unit group of team members who come together once a week and then work in work teams the rest of the time.

I thought you might like to know the groups (see below), and if you’re interested in getting involved, let me know and I can help you connect:

  • Community Engagement and Safety 
  • Facilities 
  • Housing/Residence Life/Quarantine and Isolation Housing 
  • Inclusive Considerations 
  • Programs and Activities  
  • Student Support 
  • Testing  

We are still at the mercy of uncontrollable factors, like the path of COVID-19, but we have an infinitely better handle on what we need to decide, and the implications of each option.   

It doesn’t exactly make our planning process easier, but it makes the unknowns easier to manage. 

For now, That’s Scarlet and Great enough for me.