As we prepare for the first day of classes, tragic events of societal injustice and racism continue to shadow our hearts and minds, along with the suffering caused by recent natural disasters and the ongoing pandemic.
As I noted in my remarks at the Faculty-Staff Institute, we all feel anxiety and have many questions. At the same time, the start of a new academic year is cause for humble joy. We can take confidence in the diligent preparations of our peers to keep us all safe, and we owe it to our students to bring all the fortitude we possess to our duties.With care for our fellow Saints whose lives are wounded by the sin of racism and in full partnership to strike it down wherever we encounter it; with compassion for students, faculty and staff who have lost loved ones and livelihoods to natural disasters and to COVID-19 - we go on. We move forward, together.
"Alert Level" matrix
It's important to recognize the changing nature of the COVID-19 virus and the fact that we will be living with asymptomatic and symptomatic realities for some time. We are taking in new information daily. The most essential thing we can do is exercise the Community Pledge. We will be publishing an "Alert Level" matrix to communicate our levels of tolerance/capacity, and points of pivot should we need to change our direction (for example, go virtual). I have high confidence that we will be able to manage our situation, if we all adhere to our responsibilities. Please do your part.
Enhanced outdoor space
In recognition of how we might approach physical distancing while encouraging community engagement, new outdoor space for students was created this summer through a collaboration with the Student Government Association. The space includes a fire pit and seating in the grassy area across from our brick apartments. Additional outdoor furniture, including more picnic tables and Adirondack chairs, will soon be arriving to enable everyone to better enjoy our campus outdoors.
my.CSS - a Cor upgrade
The IT Department is evaluating and reorganizing our internal web pages, including Cor, and migrating them to the new Brightspace environment. This internal resource will be called my.CSS, and will have exciting new features. It will simplify and streamline relevant information and enhance our internal digital community. IT will be asking for everyone's help to craft the new space. This project is a great example of Stewardship by making the best use of resources that we have available. It will save the College thousands of dollars per year and give us a fresh new look. Watch for more information coming soon.
From Alumni Engagement
Homecoming represents a time to celebrate our community, our traditions and our unwavering Saints spirit. The Alumni Engagement team is inviting everyone to join an unprecedented virtual celebration on Saturday, Oct. 10. Although the programming might look different, these events will allow Saints - around the globe! - to engage with us and with one another safely. Please save the date and be on the lookout for future communications.
Two recent announcements prompted Saints Athletics to pursue alternative opportunities for our student-athletes this fall. Last week, the UMAC Council of Athletics Directors made the decision to suspend all competitions for the two remaining sports planning to compete this fall. In addition, the D-III Administrative Committee recommended that member schools not compete in the fall term to avoid a potential increase in health and safety risks. Accordingly, both our cross country and golf programs will now be joining football, volleyball and soccer in competing in the spring term. All St. Scholastica fall sports will focus on developing our student-athletes, both on and off the field, as they prepare for spring competition. For additional Saints Athletics COVID-19 information, please click here.On that note, I want to thank and recognize Athletic Director Franco Bari and our athletic administration, our coaches and support staff. Navigating the impact of COVID-19, the shifting NCAA announcements, together with UMAC decisions, has been challenging over the past couple of months. I am very grateful for their skillful handling of this situation and the steady support they have provided both incoming student athletes and those returning - it's truly been a Saints family effort.
Celebrate our Center for Just Living!
The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion invites you to an Open House from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, to celebrate upgrades to the Intercultural Center and the Center for Just Living spaces. This has been a long-standing goal of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office. We are glad to enhance and improve spaces on the Duluth campus for students of diverse backgrounds to meet and engage. Please join us for a socially distanced face-to-face ice cream social to celebrate these new spaces.
A good time to sign up
There's still time to participate in our first One Campus, One Read reading, A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. Small groups will be formed to read and discuss the book with faculty and staff facilitators. A free e-book can be downloaded. If you'd prefer a paper copy, indicate that on your sign-up form.I end my update today with a heartfelt thank you and shout out to the Faculty Staff Institute planning committee for all their efforts in coordinating the virtual experience. As we say, Saints Rise Up and the team did a great job.
Have a great weekend, everyone!