From the Desk of the Vice President

The Student Life E-Connect Newsletter allows the senior leadership of Student Life to share insights into recent events and news within the division.

Bronze Buffalo with mask.

Fall 2020 E-Connect

Not Your Average Wednesday Afternoon

Dear Student Life Colleagues,

I was searching for information in UBbox recently when I ran across a file we have unfortunately been using quite a lot these days. Simply entitled COVID-19, the file created back in March intended to house just a few COVID related communications moving into the summer. Who could have predicted that over the course of the next six months, and hundreds of files later, that we would be entering this strange new chapter in higher education?

March 11, 2020 was just another one of your typical Wednesday afternoons at UB, but as students, faculty and staff would soon learn, on this day, it would prove to be anything but typical. With President Tripathi’s announcement that under the unique and uncertain circumstances UB would be moving to remote learning, our lives and ultimately the way we do our jobs would change forever.

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I am reminded of a saying that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” and admittedly over the past year I have experienced some of the same fears, frustrations and uncertainties you have. That said, I have also witnessed firsthand how incredibly lucky we all are to collaborate with colleagues who continually work for the benefit of the students they serve.
From a virtual commencement to innovative ways to engage students, both virtually, and in person, we have met the challenges head-on. During this entire period, I have been guided by the expertise of our Health Services staff and have gratitude for their counsel and leadership during this global health crisis. Equally impressive, Student Life delivered a completely online Orientation program this summer, transitioned student wellness to virtual support systems, served unprecedented number of students through our emergency fund and Blue Table and together we created a comprehensive, one-stop Student Guide website providing students up-to-date information and tips on navigating the UB experience for this unique fall opening.

And as we enter the fall, the hard-working dedicated staff in Campus Living and Campus Dining and Shops are successfully welcoming almost 5,000 students safely into our residence halls, are prepared to offer care and accommodation for our positive student cases and have re-imagined students on-campus dining experience, among many other accomplishments.

I believe we are in a good place to start the semester, but we must be committed and prepared to provide our students with the best possible UB experience, no matter the circumstances.
None of us could have ever imagined that this was how the fall semester would unfold, but I ask for your continued hard work and support over the weeks and months to come. Please consider joining your fellow colleagues and me in taking the UB pledge, a shared commitment to protecting yourself and others as we enter the fall.
Looking back, we have all accomplished so much during this time, not only at work, but away from the office as well. There is certainly much to celebrate. With that in mind, our professional development staff in Student Life had the wonderful idea to commemorate your personal accomplishments over the past months by documenting your life moments in the video at the top right of this letter. I think we can all agree that it really puts things into perspective.
Wishing you all the best this semester - and remember, after all we have been through to never take for granted those typical Wednesday afternoons.

Together we are UB!

Christina Hernandez