Life has certainly changed radically at The College of Saint Rose in just a month. The COVID-19 pandemic led us to move classes online for the rest of the Spring Semester, and our campus sits quiet at a time when it normally would bustle with spring events.
Meanwhile, Saint Rose, like colleges and universities throughout the country, has been presented with financial challenges as a result of the pandemic. It has forced some difficult decisions that apply to staff and administrators, including 61 furloughs (until June 28), pay reductions, and changes to vacation benefits.
While all of these changes caused disruption, and certainly are steps we wish we did not have to take, they remind us that during these difficult times it is important that we remain connected as a community.
I was happy to hold a Zoom video call with Dr. Alfredo Varela from Global Affairs and many of our international students, some of whom are away from their countries and families at a scary time for all of us. Students continue to meet with advisors or receive tutoring services in video chats. Alums play Saint Rose bingo on Instagram. All the while, student organizations host online meetings, social media challenges, and livestreamed events to remind us that we continue to be bonded, even when we are apart.
In the spirit of our founding, we have also continued to express concern for our greater community – donating supplies, including masks and gowns from our Health Services Center to Albany Medical Center, and assisting Chromebook distribution to School District of the City of Albany students who needed technology by providing Saint Rose backpacks for the computers.
HOME is really about the care we show to those around us, and it is needed more than ever in times such as these.
I wish you peace and good health in the coming days and weeks.
It is the Saint Rose mission to serve the dear neighbor and meet the needs of the times, and COVID-19 has given the College new opportunities to do just that.
Recently, the College donated 1,200 Saint Rose drawstring bags to hold computers the City School District of Albany distributed to its students so they could move to online instruction.
Also, Emily Ilowit, nurse practitioner for Saint Rose Health Services, brought much-needed medical supplies to Albany Medical Center to help those working on the front lines. Ilowit was featured in a Times Union story on colleges’ efforts.
Education Dive, an online publication that covers news and trends in higher education and K-12 schools, recently published an opinion piece by President Carolyn J. Stefanco and Associate Vice President for Global Affairs Alfredo Varela.
They discussed how international students were often the forgotten population as colleges and universities were forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to shift to the remote delivery of courses. They also outlined ways that higher education can better serve international students after the pandemic has passed.
For the third year in a row, The College of Saint Rose was named to the 2020 Transfer Honor Roll by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an honor society for students who attend an associate-degree-granting college.
Saint Rose was one of 123 colleges across the country and one of nine in New York State to receive this honor, which recognizes four-year colleges and universities that provide a seamless and supportive experience to students who transfer from community colleges.