I don’t have to tell you that right now we are living in a challenging time. Our lives and those of the people we care about have been disrupted in ways that feel surreal. This institution and the way it operates has been reinvented, even though only on a temporary basis. We have asked students who came here for a deeply experiential education with personal attention from faculty and staff to adjust to a virtual learning environment absent most co-curricular opportunities. We have asked our faculty to shift their pedagogical approach, or at least the mode of delivery, for the remainder of our semester. And we have asked our employees to shift their responsibilities to staff call centers, to work six feet from one another when on campus even as they attempt to work collaboratively, and to support one another and the institution from their homes or workspaces spread across the region in order to help ensure their physical and psychological well-being.
We have asked a lot and you have all answered. This community has come together and is doing what needs to be done to help us deliver on our educational mission. I am impressed, and I am grateful to you all.
Now I have one more ask. Our students are being impacted by the coronavirus crisis in ways that go far beyond what we can control here at Suffolk. So many of our students are facing increased financial pressure as businesses and organizations where those students hold jobs reduce staffing levels. Transportation has become more challenging, retailers are cutting back, and as restaurants shift to delivery or take-out only, students who work in those venues are impacted. Many will not be getting their normal pay or perhaps any pay at all.
In light of this, I am asking you to support these students by participating in a fundraising effort for the Suffolk CARES program. Suffolk CARES includes both the Suffolk food pantry, which addresses the serious issue of food insecurity among our students, and an emergency assistance fund. Suffolk CARES will provide direct financial assistance to students impacted by the residual effects of this health crisis.
As we work each day to protect our own health and that of our families, as we take steps to support the health of the broader public – people we know and people we do not – and as we continue to work to advance our educational mission, please consider taking a step to alleviate some of the financial stress our students are feeling right now. Please consider a donation to Suffolk CARES here.
In the days ahead, you will be hearing more about the launch of our effort to support Suffolk CARES, including through support from alumni and friends. And whether you are able to make a donation or not, thank you for the work you are doing from your home office, your couch, your kitchen table, or your office in support of Suffolk and our mission, and most of all our students.
Wishing you good health.
Marisa J. Kelly