Leaving campus at the end of the Winter Quarter is not something any of us anticipated, and by doing so, each of you is making a tremendous contribution to helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, country, and around the world. As we speak to students, we are learning about the efforts that many of you are taking to address this crisis, to support one another, and help your loved ones. Some of you have also shared valuable insights about ways the University can help respond to the situation at hand. Thank you for all that you are doing; we know these rapid changes come with significant personal sacrifice.
We are writing because we are committed to supporting you as we implement social distancing practices and other changes that current circumstances demand. We have heard from students about feeling fear, frustration, and stress related to concerns for yourself, your family, and your friends. Please know that many campus resources are available to help. While the situation is evolving, here are some of the things we’re working on right now at CI+I:
- Emergency financial assistance and food security resources: Providing students with access to emergency financial assistance and food security resources remains one of our top priorities as a campus community. For many of you, traveling home will be the safest course of action, and may cause an unexpected financial burden. The Office of the University Bursar offers an emergency assistance program that you can apply for through my.uchicago.edu. Food may also pose a challenge for some of you. You can learn more about food security resources and apply for assistance on the Student Support Services website.
- Staffing: Just as students are transitioning to online learning, much of the University staff is transitioning to working remotely. Thus, CI+I’s full-time staff members and student employees are now working remotely as well. Our team members are available to assist you via email, phone, and Zoom. Whether you are a regular visitor to CI+I or we haven’t had an opportunity to meet yet, we are always available to chat, support an application process, troubleshoot concerns, help you identify resources, etc.
- Programming: We want to make certain we stay connected as a community. CI+I will offer a number of programs during the Spring Quarter that are designed to build community, with a strong focus on supporting students of color; LGBTQ students; and first-generation, lower-income, and undocumented students. More information will be shared with you very soon. We’re thinking creatively about how to best help students stay connected, and we’d love to hear your ideas about remote programming or activities that you’d find valuable. Please email any suggestions to email@example.com.
We’ll update you with additional information as soon as we can. We also realize that you may have ideas or needs that go beyond what we’ve outlined above. We want to know what else we can do to support you and also hear your ideas. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.702.5710 and let us know what we can do to help. Thank you again for your patience and your contributions
Melissa Gilliam MD, MPH
Assistant Provost and Executive Director of the Center for Identity + Inclusion