The world is on an unexpected, unconventional, and uncomfortable ride. But for Ambrosians, the world has not stopped.
We asked a number of students, faculty, and staff to envision this fall semester and share the ways we can – and will – work through the challenges COVID-19 presents, and most importantly, how we will adapt and thrive.
Students choose SAU to build on and achieve their goals. They seek to explore the world, be creative, and become leaders who willingly support their peers and communities. Those priorities will never change - even in the midst of a pandemic. Indeed, those are the traits that will lead us through this semester, successfully.
The Ambrosians interviewed believe there is much to look forward to next spring if we take each and every step now to protect ourselves and each other, which includes upholding the Bee Safe, Bee Responsible Promise.
Their words are worth repeating, and you will see them on posters throughout campus and hear them through a series of videos.
We Will Adapt and Thrive
Ambrosians are known for our ability to overcome challenges and succeed. That will never change, even in the midst of a pandemic. Indeed, it will lead us through this semester, successfully.
As junior Jake Rossmiller pointed out, some things will be different this semester, such as wearing facial coverings, fewer desks in classrooms, and reduced team sports. "What will not change this fall is the atmosphere on campus and our community, because everyone is really happy to be back and it will show. Those things will not change, but our habits will," he said.
"I believe that being in a social environment is the best way to learn. If we keep each other safe, we will be able to stay on campus, and through learning, we will thrive," Rossmiller said.
Cat Roth, a graduate student in the Master of Public Health program, said the pandemic has shown how vulnerable we are as humans and as a community. "It's important for me to do what I can to keep my community safe. It is important for me to listen to public health experts. I want to do whatever I can as a student, as an SAU Bee, to help overcome this pandemic," she said.
"It is the selfless thing to do, to put somebody else's health before your own. But in this situation, not only are you prioritizing the health of your neighbor, your friend, your family, you are also prioritizing your own health," Roth added.
Each one of us comes into this situation with a different perspective and way we are experiencing it, said Cross Country and Track Coach Beth Jansen. "We can benefit by giving both ourselves and others a lot of room for patience, understanding, and grace as we work through all of this," she said.
"I feel a really big responsibility to the community at St. Ambrose, in Davenport, in Iowa, and in the United States to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to make sure that everyone, including the most vulnerable people in our lives, are safe and healthy," she added.
"We have demonstrated time and time again that we are a caring and creative community, as we witnessed especially last spring when all of this began. As a small, Catholic university that embraces these qualities, I believe we are especially well poised to meet this challenge."
University Chaplain Fr. Thom Hennen
In April, senior Meghan Curran told her friends she would do anything to be back on campus. And here we are. All they ask is for us to wear a mask, wash our hands, clean up after ourselves, and avoid big events where we will be too close to other people. It is a small price to pay for being on campus. This is my senior year. I don't want to go home early," she said, adding other students feel the same way, too.
"Just knowing that everybody is doing the best they can, relying on each other and holding each other accountable lets me know we are all in this together," Curran said.
"We have demonstrated time and time again that we are a caring and creative community, as we witnessed especially last spring when all of this began," said Rev. Thom Hennen '00, University Chaplain. "As a small, Catholic university that embraces these qualities, I believe we are especially well poised to meet this challenge. I believe our administration made a wise decision to begin and end the semester early, but the only way this works is if we are accountable to ourselves and to each other in taking all of these precautions," he said.
"We will need to do here on campus what we were all doing a few months ago from our homes, that is, limiting who and how many people we are with, wearing masks, frequently washing or sanitizing our hands, and keeping physical distance as far as possible. If we each commit ourselves to doing this, I think we have more than a fighting chance to stay healthy and make this semester a success," he added.