Campus update for April 24, 2020
April 24, 2020
'Once in a lifetime does one encounter such a being.'
When someone starts an essay with a line like that, you’ve got to keep reading. That someone is the indefatigable Bo Dziadyk, Augustana professor emeritus of biology.
Just in case of TL;DR on your part: "The American sycamore is ensconced in my psyche and enshrined in my botanical soul. It is something like my personal totem in the deep woods of home."
But you really should read the last line, too, in A plane tree that is not a plain tree.
• Governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker has announced an extension of the Illinois stay-at-home order until May 30. He did make a specific allowance for moving out of residence halls, as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. Stay tuned to hear specific instructions for moving out of your residence hall, coming from Director of Residential Life Chris Beyer next week.
• Student refund checks will be mailed on Tuesday, April 28. If you have established alternative means of transacting cash with the college—via ACH, Flywire or wire transfer—you will receive a separate notice of the refund transaction. Thank you for your patience as the Business Office completes this final review. Please send any questions to email@example.com.
• TLA residents: We know that many of your leases for next year don’t start until June 1. But not to worry: You can keep your things in your apartment or house until June 1 at no cost. We’ll let you know when sign-up is ready to schedule your June 1 move-out appointment. Contact Ariel Rogers for more information.
• The deadline for application to study away in 2020-21 is Friday, May 8. Openings are available for semester programs and J-terms at many destinations, including Cambodia, Guatemala, Mexico, Holden Village in Washington, and the Mojave Desert in California. Find more information and applications here, and send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Award season is on! Is there someone on campus—administrator or faculty or staff member—whom you appreciate and admire for their excellent work? Here’s your chance to say so. Nominations for the annual Violet and Harold Jaeke awards are open. See this list of past winners.
• Augustana’s 2020 spring semester will go down in history, and we have only 3 weeks of classes left! Please let your professors, advisors and other mentors know how class is going for you. Keep learning at Augustana can help you improve or enhance your distance learning skills during this final thrust. (Today is the last day to use one learning resource: video resources by Innovative Educators.)
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Today’s podcast: Augustana Observer talks with Mikaylo Kelly ’20 about food justice, pandemics and Augie Acres.
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A letter from Hunter Ridley ’20
Dear fellow students and friends,
I’ll keep the message short and sweet today, but first I just want to ask: How are you doing? Who are you with? What’s on your agenda for today? Read any good books lately? I know our answers vary a lot, and I know we’re all dealing with different situations day to day. The world has really been knocked on its feet, and we’re told we must adapt. But getting used to a world like this is so much easier said than done. We are 100% allowed to mourn our losses, to feel a little helpless, and to wish more than anything for our normal lives back, but we have to be gentle with ourselves and others in doing so.
Take that feeling of missing your friends as an opportunity to reach out to them, reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while—this pandemic is affecting everyone in one way or another. When you feel suffocated by seeing the same walls day in and day out, convince yourself to go for a walk. Take some headphones and a podcast along with you and zone out, pretend for an hour that the world is normal again. If you’re still in shock that something this crazy is happening to our world, write about it! Getting the words out of your head out onto paper is amazingly therapeutic.
One last thing that’s helped me find solace amongst all the tragic news, boredom, and stress is listing out all of the unexpected good things that have come out of all of this. Think about it: we are all in some ways becoming more self sufficient and expanding our skills. We can’t go out to eat, so we’re learning to cook. We all get tired of Netflix eventually, so I know some of us are picking up new hobbies. We’re painting, we’re drawing, we’re creating music, we’re finally reading all those books we never had time for before. We can’t go to the hairdresser, so some of us (the brave ones—in my opinion) are learning to cut our own.
I hope windows and doors in your neighborhoods are covered in colorful paper hearts and words of encouragement like mine are. For me, small acts like that are an outstanding testament to how supportive, adaptable, and compassionate the world can really be. While being forced to distance ourselves in so many ways, it almost feels like the world is becoming a little more communal, don’t you think? Despite the daunting realities of this pandemic, I know we will all step out of this experience as better communities and better people in one way or another.