This afternoon I took a walk across campus and on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail. As I strolled through campus, I encountered few people and observed several students moving their belongings out of the residence halls. This move-out was different from any of the others I have participated in during my 30 plus years in higher education. It was not full of excitement and anticipation of what summer holds. Instead, I felt the uncertainty of our times and I was saddened by it.
My spirits were somewhat renewed on the rail trail when I encountered many members of our community practicing social distancing and getting important exercise. Folks were happy to be outdoors, despite the chill, and it reminded me that in spite of our circumstances there is so much for which to be thankful.
In our first meeting of the academic year, I spoke with you about the Raider Way, a way of living out our Ship values of respect, honesty, collaboration, and kindness. As we faced the uncertainty of COVID-19’s impact on our University, those values played out in how we moved forward as a community.
I am so thankful to our APSCUF leadership for being exceptional partners in creating the plan for how we would continue to serve our students. I am most appreciative of our faculty who participated in training, offered to support the training process, and pivoted to create academic content that represents the quality of a Shippensburg University education.
I am thankful to our staff and administration for how they quickly adjusted to our new normal, embraced working remotely, and are seamlessly supporting the administrative operations of the University.
I am thankful for the custodial and facilities team for cleaning and sanitizing our campus to keep us safe, and to our student affairs and residence life teams for assisting our students move out and operating the information hotline. I am thankful to Chartwells for providing nutritious meals for our students.
I am thankful for our students and their families for working with us during these unprecedented times.
As we move to remote learning and working, the next few weeks will challenge us in even more ways. We will, more than ever before, need to contribute to the retention of our students and work even harder to recruit new ones. But we are prepared. By living out our values and continuing to work together we can accomplish all that is needed.
We are ready to do what is necessary. And for that I am incredibly grateful. It is because of you that we have reached this point. And it will be with you that we will move forward.
Thank you for living out our values and in these difficult times, exemplifying the Raider Way.
Laurie A. Carter