Working together in extraordinary times

March 20, 2020

We are living through an extraordinary moment. Seemingly out of the blue everything has been turned on its head. We don’t know yet how bad the COVID-19 pandemic will get, how long it will last, or what about our world will change when it’s over.

What we do know is that long after the pandemic abates, future generations will both judge and draw lessons from our response. And the decisions we make now will have profound consequences for our collective well-being.

With this in mind, it has been inspiring and heartwarming to see the SFU community come together with common purpose to ensure our welfare and to support one another in the face of this threat.

Everywhere I look I can see the difference you are making.

I see it in the students who are coping with the anxiety of adapting to new ways of living and learning, especially international students who are enduring additional stress and uncertainty.

I see it in our faculty who have had to scramble with almost no notice to work at home and to deliver their courses remotely.

I see it in our staff who have transferred their work lives to their kitchen tables and those who have remained on our campuses to keep SFU running.

And I see it in the efforts of so many to make sure we stay connected even as we keep our distance.

These actions, institutional and individual, large and small, are testament to the strength of our community, and to the power of human solidarity.

The days and weeks ahead will be difficult. Nothing like this has happened in most of our lifetimes. But working together, we can overcome the challenges we face.

In my ten years as SFU president, I have never been prouder of this university or more grateful for your perseverance and goodwill. Our strength is in each other – in knowing that we stand together in confronting this crisis. And, if we continue to be committed, patient and kind to each other, I am confident that we will emerge stronger than ever.