I’m so honored to be writing my first message to you as the Vice President for Student Life at Iowa, the institution I love. Of course, becoming Iowa’s new VP for Student Life when our students aren’t on campus feels a bit odd, but I want you to know that we are all working very hard to support you in this unprecedented time.
Most campus services are still open virtually. Support groups and individual counseling sessions or consultations are still available through University Counseling Services, Student Wellness, Student Disability Services and other units. Student Health is providing tele-health visits and supporting the COVID-19 campus response. Our Cultural Centers, WRAC, RVAP, and others are providing programming online.
In addition, we have created a website that outlines services to help students meet basic needs, such as housing, food, utility bills, child care, and more. This site is dynamic, allowing you to suggest additions to the content by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for your learning is being provided online to help you continue to build your study skills and content knowledge even while you are away from campus. Many campus help labs remain available to you online as well, so check websites on current offerings and hours.
As you know, most of our faculty and staff continue to work, teach, and provide support from their homes. I wanted to share with you a few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks that may help you as well.
- Establish routines. After the first couple of days sitting at home on Zoom meetings, I realized it is important for me to schedule daily well-being habits. For me, this means taking a walk and doing yoga. This will be different for everyone, but having a routine focused on some type of self-care is important.
- Set yourself up for success. I found that sitting at a desk for Zoom meetings made me feel more attentive than participating while lounging on my couch. A faculty friend of mine mentioned a student in her class lying in bed with a hood over their head made it difficult to engage. I know I would doze off trying to concentrate on work in my comfortable bed.
- Check in with friends and family. Everyone is struggling in some way, but human contact and a sense of caring can help us feel connected.
- Support your Hawkeye community. The fear associated with COVID-19 has led to hurtful comments, especially for our Hawkeyes who identify with the Asian and Asian American communities. COVID-19 does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.
Remember, your Hawkeye community is still here for you. Although we aren’t together, we are available to chat, help problem solve, connect you to resources, or just listen.
I look forward to seeing you on campus in August, when we will be able to celebrate working together to overcome this very difficult chapter in history. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to share your experiences and insight on how we can continue to improve the experience for all Hawkeyes.
Vice President for Student Life