Fiat Being Here for Each Other

Many of the first signs of spring have begun to reveal themselves in recent days. Temperatures rose enough last week to melt away most of the snow that had accumulated over the winter months. Robins (and groundhogs) have returned. Buds are breaking on trees, a prelude to the highly anticipated explosion of green on our hills and in our valleys.

On our campus, there is no surer sign of winter giving way to spring than the hustle and bustle of outdoor activity, like the class English professor Rob Reginio held last Tuesday outside of Kanakadea Hall. In light of the unprecedented challenges our students and University have faced over the last year, this was truly a welcome sight. To help celebrate the beautiful Spring weather, Dillon Smith ’19, MS ’22 and Ivette Lewandowski ’24 accompanied yours truly for a trip along Academic Alley/Allen Way on our University’s Outside of Ordinary seven-seat bicycle. The unique bicycle, historically used by our admissions office for campus tours, allowed for proper social distancing between its riders.

Spring is typically a time of celebration on our campus and this year is no different. As the close of the academic year approaches, we have much to celebrate, most notably that we have been able to remain open throughout the academic year. In doing so, over half of our classes have been in person and another 25 percent in hybrid (combination of in-person and online) fashion. Not all colleges and universities can claim the same successes. That we were able to accomplish this is a testament to the collective resourcefulness, resoluteness, and resilience of our students, staff and faculty.

Most of our employees have also been returning to their normal on-campus work setting this week. Exceptions are being made for those who cannot return due to medical concerns or health policy protocols. We estimate that over 50 percent of our workers have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The number of vaccinated campus community members will further increase over coming weeks, especially after New York expands its eligibility guidelines to include all residents 16 and older on April 6.

An increasing number of our community members being vaccinated against COVID will make our campus more safe. So, too, will our continued vigilance in following health and safety protocols that have been in place since the start of the academic year.

The safe return of employees to campus is yet another reason to celebrate. It allows us as an institution to serve our students better and to support each other in fulfilling our University’s mission.

Fiat being here for each other!