I hope you have had the opportunity to unwind a bit since the spring semester ended, and I trust that classes are going well for those who are continuing your coursework during Maymester.
As I said when I last wrote you during finals week, I plan to reach out to you occasionally throughout the summer with any noteworthy updates about Penn State and the college. With that in mind, the following information and resources might be helpful to you:
- For those who were living in residence halls before the pandemic prompted the transition to remote learning, you are probably aware that Penn State has announced a phased process for students to return and move out of their rooms. This process is being carried out in phases as the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Governor Wolf continue to gradually re-open portions of the Commonwealth; students who live in “green” or “yellow” areas of Pennsylvania (or similar situations in other states) will receive an email providing information on scheduling a move-out and outlining other requirements related to your return to campus. Please be sure to register in advance before returning to campus – you will only be given access to the residence hall within your scheduled two-hour window, which is to the benefit of everyone’s health and well-being. Additional information can be found on Housing and Food Services’ Move-out Process website (https://hfs.psu.edu/spring-housing-move-out-faqs) .
- Are you searching for a job or internship but wondering how COVID-19 may affect your career plans? Was your summer internship canceled and you find yourself looking for advice and/or alternatives? Looking for tips and advice to help you stay motivated during this turbulent time? The college’s Career Enrichment Network has launched a new website, Navigating Your Career During COVID-19 (https://gethired.la.psu.edu) , that is designed to help liberal arts majors stay professional, stay connected, and stay motivated this summer. If you have not had the opportunity to do so already, I encourage you to visit the website and take advantage of its host of career, internship, graduate school, and mentoring/networking information and resources.
- I hope that many of you (and especially those who graduated this spring) had the chance to “attend” Penn State’s virtual commencement ceremony and/or any of the commencement activities conducted virtually by our college’s departments, programs, and schools. I was deeply impressed by the diversity and high quality of the programs, videos, audio recordings, and other features that staff and faculty assembled to honor our graduates (all of which, incidentally, are accessible by department/program at la.psu.edu/commencement (https://la.psu.edu/current-students/undergraduate-students/education/commencement/commencement) ), and I enjoyed perusing the online edition of the college’s spring commencement program (https://spring2020.commencement.psu.edu/assets/spring-2020-programs/College-of-the-Liberal-Arts.pdf) as well. I am also grateful to Randy Houston, one of our esteemed alums who generously provided us with a special message as president of the Penn State Alumni Association; and Awaly Diallo, who served honorably as this year’s college student marshal, for sharing special messages with the Class of 2020. You can find both of their messages, and mine, here (https://vgradpsu.z20.web.core.windows.net/psu/xvi/index.html). Although I look forward to inviting Awaly and the rest of our graduates back for in-person galas when public health guidelines allow, these lively virtual celebrations have established great templates for future graduation gatherings.
Of course, I suspect the biggest questions on everyone’s mind right now are what’s in store for the fall semester, when can we expect to return to campus, and what kind of steps or processes will be put in place for that return. Although I do not have answers to those specific questions right now, I can tell you that several University task groups are hard at work developing guidelines and considering a host of scenarios that will help make our return as safe as possible. President Barron intends to share plans about the fall semester with the college community by June 15. I look forward to sharing those plans with you in my next update, and I certainly look forward to welcoming you all back to campus just as soon as our circumstances reasonably allow.
Until then, please continue to be well, be safe, be smart, and be careful!