Monday Moments with President Bergman: September 28, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on September 28th, 2020 by

It is Monday, September 28, 2020, and it’s a big day for the Gustavus community. The vast majority of students have returned to campus, and we are officially restarting our full slate of in-person, hybrid, and online classes.

President Rebecca M. Bergman

I recall the feelings of sadness I had on March 13, 2020, when our last day of in-person instruction came to a close and we transitioned to online teaching and learning. That was 200 days ago. Since then, our community, including students, faculty, and staff, have successfully navigated an assortment of challenges, demonstrated flexibility and resilience in the face of rapid change, and remained true to our mission. Today, we have the opportunity for a new beginning, and I invite you to look forward with a sense of optimism and determination that we can work together and successfully accomplish our plans and goals for the remainder of the fall semester.

It has been amazing to watch the creativity and innovation that is accompanying us on our journey through these unusual times. On Saturday, we hosted our very first virtual homecoming celebration in the history of the College. While I would have preferred to welcome hundreds of alumni to campus for a day of fun and fellowship, we instead connected using Zoom for a series of live virtual events. From the comfort of their living rooms, Gustie alumni–from as far away as California, Washington D.C., Mexico, Norway, and Sweden–participated in a tour of Nobel Hall, Alumni College lectures, a discussion about racial justice, inclusion, and equity, a walk through Gustavus football history, and virtual visits to four Gustie-owned breweries in Minnesota. Thank you to everyone who was involved in creatively planning and leading events throughout the day!

As we look forward, get ready for even more new and innovative events and activities throughout the fall. This week, 30 Gustavus students will share their internship, research, or career preparation experiences at the virtual Career Expo taking place Tuesday-Thursday afternoons. On Friday, we will host a virtual Fall Research Symposium, where students who conducted research on campus over the summer or during last year will present the results of their work. Next Tuesday and Wednesday, the 56th Nobel Conference, Cancer in the Age of Biotechnology, will take place in a virtual format with a digital suite of activities developed so audience members can engage in the conference wherever they are. And, students–stay tuned moving forward for Virtual Family Weekend October 10 and a virtual fall involvement fair on Tuesday, October 13.

Even during a pandemic, and the unnatural but necessary need to keep at least six feet of distance between people, we can find innovative ways of engaging in the life of the College both inside and outside the classroom. With imagination, good planning, and a mix of virtual and socially-distanced in-person events, I know that we can respond creatively in ways that allow us to live and learn in community this fall.

Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties!

With respect,

President Bergman


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