Persevering Through the Challenges

A message to Rutgers University-New Brunswick Division of Student Affairs staff from Salvador B. Mena, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Rutgers University—New Brunswick:

Dear Colleagues:

I hope this message finds you doing well and staying safe.

It has been almost two months now since the conclusion of the spring semester and virtual commencement. Despite the challenges that we faced this past spring, we persevered on behalf of our students. And while we should be proud of what we were able to accomplish this past spring, I also want to acknowledge the toll that COVID-19 has had on our personal and professional lives.

Back in March, our students were sent home, and we began to work remotely. Since that time, over 13,000 New Jerseyans and more than 130,000 individuals have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the United States, while thousands who survived continue to deal with the disease’s after-effects. I recognize that the last four months have been filled with concerns about loved ones’ health and well-being (including your own) and a great deal of uncertainty about employment security. Please know that this uncertainty and the responsibility that comes with it weighs heavy on me and the Student Affairs leadership team.

Although we know that we will be operating in a primarily remote environment for the fall with minimal students on campus, the uncertainty of COVID-19 will continue to pose challenges for the university and us personally. As we begin preparing for the fall semester and dealing with the challenges that await us, I want to convey to you my heartfelt appreciation for everything you did this past year to get us to this point, especially during the difficult last four months – it took a real team effort.

You will receive another communication from me in early August, sharing our operating plan for the fall semester. The plan, which will reflect our remote operating status, focuses on supporting student academic success, enhancing virtual engagement, attending to students’ health and well-being, and promoting the values and practices of equity and inclusion.

Thank you again, and please do not hesitate to be in touch with me in the days and weeks ahead.

In Good Health,

Salvador B. Mena, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Rutgers University–New Brunswick