To our Saint Anselm Community,
On Monday, we embarked on a new chapter for the College, as we moved to the “new normal” of a quiet campus but a very active remote-learning environment. On the first day alone, 178 virtual classes were held, with 1,700 participants! Thank you to the many students, faculty and staff who worked so hard to reboot our Saint Anselm education in the face of this uncertain time. What you have accomplished is inspiring, though not surprising, knowing the Anselmian spirit is ready to overcome any challenge.
Now that we have crossed this important milestone, our attention has turned to answering the many remaining questions you have, including when we will be able to resume on-campus activities and what level of reimbursement for housing and dining will be offered. While we seek to understand the full impact of the coronavirus, the senior leadership team is meeting daily to address the many topics related to how this semester has been impacted and we promise to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees very soon. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work through these many and complex issues.
In the meantime, we ask you to join us in remembering those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Guided by our Benedictine values, our community has a proud history of putting others ahead of themselves. And in this unprecedented moment, our alumni healthcare providers, firefighters and police officers are at the forefront of the response to this global crisis. We salute these heroes and hold them in our thoughts and prayers as they fulfill their mission to keep us all healthy and safe, putting their own well-being in jeopardy.
As you surely know, life on the Hilltop has changed dramatically over the past few weeks, as it has throughout the world. Beyond the change to remote instruction, we are developing a wide range of “virtual” campus events as a way to stay engaged and enriched.
Among the virtual experiences, we are happy to announce that Masses soon will be livestreamed Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights from the Abbey Church. Campus Ministry has also begun a 10-day “Busy Person’s Retreat,” and you can access reflections from the past few days as well as future ones online. Watch for ways to join these offerings on www.anselm.edu and our social media channels.
Also, the popular “Come Friday” humanities discussions will be available online. As most students know, “Come Friday” forums are weekly campus events organized by Dr. Gary Bouchard, executive director of the Grappone Humanities Institute. You can join this week’s topic, “Can you live the rule of Saint Benedict outside of an abbey?,” by joining this Zoom conference.
And last week I held the first of our weekly “Fridays with Dr. Favazza” Town Hall forums with faculty and staff, which was attended through video conferencing by 500 people. Soon we will hold similar conversations with each Class and I look forward to seeing you on the Web!
These virtual campus experiences provide a way for you to stay connected to the Hilltop.
HOW TO HELP
It comes as no surprise that many of our generous alumni have asked for ways they can financially support those in need. We know that many of our students are facing serious financial hardship and we want to offer our help. For this reason, we are working to establish the Anselmian Student Relief Fund. More details will be shared in the coming days.
We all know this is an uncharted time and it is hard to stay positive in the face of hardship. However, those of us who call Saint Anselm home will always be faithful to and caring for one another. The character of an Anselmian is defined by hospitality, community, and most especially, empathy. These values will guide us through the uncertainty and keep us together as one. Anselmians, past and present, continue to set an example of service and community, and I am so proud to be a member of this wonderful family.
I wish you all the best for today and for the future. The love and support of the whole Saint Anselm community is with you.
Joseph A. Favazza, Ph.D.