This is only my second spring season at the University of Redlands, but when I think back to last April, I recall it to be a time full of meaningful conclusion, as well as exciting and joyous celebration. Due to the unforeseen circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clearly a very different environment this year.
Faculty are exclusively teaching students from all eight campuses through technology-enabled learning. Instead of preparing for capstones and commencement, seniors in the College of Arts and Sciences face an abbreviated final year on campus. Instead of full spring semesters abroad, some students saw their once-in-a-lifetime experiences cut short, or in the case of May Term travel courses, canceled altogether. Instead of competing in the spring sports, Bulldog student-athletes had entire seasons (and for some, their last opportunity for competition) canceled. While there is no way yet to calculate the full impact of COVID-19 on the Redlands community, President Kuncl and our leadership team have implemented strategies to help manage this crisis while maintaining academic continuity and above all, support for our students.
During this uncertain time, I have been overwhelmed by the number of alumni and friends who have asked how they can help our community, once again embodying the “Bulldog for Life” theme. Our team made the difficult decision to postpone our planned Giving Day (originally scheduled for April 2) until sometime later this calendar year so we can focus on the immediate needs of our campus community. The best way that you can help your University today is simple: please support our students with a gift to the Redlands Fund to help alleviate some of the University’s unexpected expenses, including:
- Working to safely bring home 88 abroad students from countries throughout the globe, including 18 from our international campus in Salzburg
- Moving 1,600 students out of residence halls and ensuring their safe return home
- Underwriting airfare, transportation, and storage costs for our neediest students
- Caring for the 20 or so students who still remain on the Redlands campus due to housing insecurity or international travel restrictions
- Transitioning some 5,000 students from all Schools to technology-enabled learning, which necessitated new equipment and infrastructure updates
- Continuing to respond to unforeseen needs that may arise, such as the University’s decision to provide residential students with a prorated room-and-board credit
We are following the Centers for Disease Control recommendations for social distancing in this crisis to keep our community safe. But that doesn’t mean we can’t come together as Bulldogs online… we are in this together and #URtogether!