A community that cares
Dear faculty and staff colleagues,
Last week I shared with you the significant progress we have made towards our 2030 goal of achieving national recognition by focusing on our longstanding mission of providing an outstanding education for students of academic promise. As I have reflected upon these achievements, as well as the progress we have made on our campus – like the re-opening of Jake’s Place with four new restaurants and the hiring of eight new faculty members who started this fall, including redesign of the English composition program – I realized just how significant these steps forward are, especially at a time when the pandemic and the stress of events occurring in our world continues.
During these times of volatility and uncertainty, what we most need are those structural, psychological and social spaces in which we feel safe. Today, I write to encourage each of us to create those spaces of safety and support for our fellow Albrightians — in our classrooms, our residence halls, our academic and student life offices, in our friendships, and in our casual acquaintances.
Continuing to survive during a pandemic
All of us had hoped that the pandemic might be waning at this point and, yet, it does not seem to be. Vigilance, vaccination and mask wearing continue to be imperatives. Increasing the vaccination rate in our community and using masks have been shown to be the two most effective ways to ensure community safety. Want to know more about the COVID-19 vaccine? Start here
So far this semester, the results of our campus surveillance testing have been quite good — with a low positivity rate. I encourage each and every one of us to do our part to keep our friends, our colleagues, and our students safe, especially those who may have hidden health issues that make them more at risk for serious disease. If you missed the campus vaccination clinic, go to the local CVS and get vaccinated! Wear your mask! A huge thank you to our colleagues in the Gable Health Center who are doing an outstanding job with testing and contact tracing.
Being there for each other
If the stress of the pandemic isn’t enough, Albright had reports of a gunman on campus two weeks ago and a hate group showed up on our campus the weekend before last. Public Safety and the Reading Police found no credible threat from the anonymous phone report of the gunman. The hate group, which was not affiliated in any way with Albright College, was escorted off campus. Thank you to our Public Safety officers and to Reading Police for the fast, professional response. As one Albrightian described the efforts of our Public Safety officers in response to the hate group: “It was an act of pure bravery.”
Yet, even when such incidents are handled well, they leave us filled with anxiety, fear, and emotion, and sometimes they can trigger emotions based on previous experiences. This anxiety, combined with the ongoing trauma of the pandemic, leaves us little space to breathe, to relax, to recover.
You are part of a community of caring Albrightians – and we are here for each other. There are many resources and people at Albright College trained to provide confidential support. Please reach out and ask for help. Our chaplains are available to talk, provide guidance and direction, or simply to listen. They may be reached at: Rev. Dr. Mel Sensenig, email@example.com, and Rev. Ibrahim Bangura, firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Brenda Ingram-Wallace, AVP of advocacy and full participation, email@example.com, is also available to listen and provide support.
Students may also contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center at 610-921-7532, during the day, and through Public Safety at 610-921-7670 in the evening, during the night or on the weekend. Employees may reach out to Albright’s Employee Assistance Program.
We also have each other. I encourage each of us to be aware of those around you, to listen when someone needs to talk, to hear others with empathy, and to support one another. The world will continues to be filled with events that cause anxiety and stress. Growing our sense of community will provide all of us with some support as we face these challenges together.
We have an exciting, event-filled weekend coming up! Homecoming 2021, our first in-person Homecoming since 2019, begins today! Come out, support our Lion athletic teams, enjoy Albright’s iconic Airbands competition, tune in to WXAC’s alumni show, spend time with alumni, colleagues and friends, and enjoy the beauty of our campus in the fall!
It’s a great day to be a Lion!
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry