Stories of Hope
It’s easy to forget that in unprecedented and uncertain moments like these, kindnesses abound. As we’ve learned time and again, strife can bring out the very best in ourselves and in our neighbors. We want to highlight that beautifully human tendency, and we’d love your help. Please share with us what you’ve done or what you’ve witnessed, a story of hope, a community hero, or something or someone for which you are grateful, so that we may share it with our USF community.
When my family returned from a trip to New Orleans over spring break where we were visiting our son at college, my husband got sick. Soon after, he was tested for COVID-19 which meant all of us were quarantined. His test results were lost which added to our quarantine for several more days. While I was making do with another computer, I really missed my own work laptop. Kevin Dillon in Public Safety offered to pick up my computer and deliver it to me on the Peninsula. Not only did he deliver the laptop and some other office items, he also brought me rice, Girl Scout cookies and chocolate chips. Wow, we so appreciated his kindness and I think of him every day as I tap away on my laptop! By the way, my husband is just fine now!
Thanks to Public Safety dispatch, Sauncey O'Leary, who set her alarm at 3:30am every morning during Spring Break and after to be in by 5am to help international students make their morning flights home.
Thanks to Linda Lappe (Athletics) for stepping up a moment's notice to drive a student who needed a ride to the airport before public health shuttles were set up.
Thanks to Marcella Johanna Deproto, Anastasia Vrachnos and entire ISSS team for working nonstop and through the weekends to advise international students about the implications of USF going on-line and help them prepare for going home....showing up ready to go Monday with travel documents, move out boxes, masks for travelers, and offering shuttle rides to airport to ease the transition for international students.
The study abroad team working ahead of Trump's announcement of a travel ban in Europe to help notify students, get them home, answer their questions--coming in at 5am to be available on Europe time for calls, discussions and support for students and parents.
UM's immersion trip leaders who were amazing, calm, cool and collected, making adjustments to international trips to support early returns as needed, keeping students calm and informed, framing the disappointment of an early return as part of a collective contribution and preparing students for returning to the situation in SF.
Professors Roger Liang and Roger Chen--who had a springbreak AGI to China scheduled. When travel to China was shut down, they rethought the entire AGI as China-Silicon Valley Bridge Immersion program so students could still get a great and rigorous academic experience. Then as the bay area went remote, they had to rejigger the whole thing again and put it on line. They completed the program last week flawlessly....I will send you an email about it from CBSI Director...
Professor Nola Agha, rescheduling and transforming her AGI to Japan with only one week's notice--putting everything on line, setting up zoom calls and virtual meetings with Japanese partners and sourcing some key US based contacts for students to meet with. And using the crisis to frame lessons about the Japanese concepts of Omotenashi (deep Japanese tradition of hospitality to wholeheartedly look after guests) and wa (the cultural tradition of teams and groups being more important than the individual) and also pulling learnings out of the cancellation:
"One of the applications for this trip quoted French Novelist Gustave Flaubert who said, 'Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.' In our case, our tiny place has been made clear even before we've had the chance to travel. But that doesn't mean our learning has to stop."
Nola worked indefatigably to deliver a high-quality and rigorous AGI (including for some students who needed the credits to graduate!).