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The past semester required improvisation, adaptation, and flexibility in all facets of life, including higher education. La Salle University President Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., in a message to the campus community in March, encouraged students, faculty, and staff to remain nimble as the University moved to remote instruction and remote operations.
“I encourage you to view this situation as an opportunity to challenge yourself in new ways,” Hanycz said. “… In this time of unpredictability, let’s commit to being extraordinary.”
The University community met that challenge by adapting curriculum, learning new technology, and leaning into a new normal for the balance of the Spring 2020 semester.
While the University’s on-campus food pantry, The Basket, continues to remain open to support food-insecure students, virtual resources across many functional areas at the University moved online.
Here’s a look at how La Salle adapted over the past semester:
The annual Blue and Gold Days give admitted students a taste of what life at La Salle is like on and around campus, and explain what it means to be an Explorer. That experience was converted into a live virtual Blue and Gold Day on April 4, with videos and programming covering important topics like academic majors, student organizations, and financial aid. The #NewExplorerExperience website is a hub for all admitted students, where students can also set up a virtual meetings with admissions counselors who are available each weekday.
The Center for Academic Achievement has been providing writing tutoring, subject tutoring, and academic coaching online via Zoom appointments since March 30 and will continue through May 7. Student success workshops have also migrated online.
La Salle’s Career Center has been offering all its usual services virtually and held its Spring Job and Internship Fair online from April 6-10. The Career Center migrated other events online, including the Campus Philly Virtual Fair, Social Impact Fair, Career MD Virtual Career Fair for Pennsylvania Behavioral Health Professionals, and Educate in Central PA Teacher Job Fair.
Student Wellness Services also has conducted its initiatives remotely, transforming Wellness Wednesdays and Thursday Meditation into popular weekly Facebook Live events. Topics for Wellness Wednesday have included nutrition tips and instruction on making your own cloth facemask. The April 29 session, Pause for Paws, featuring the canine companions of faculty and staff, is an annual favorite before final exams.
The Student Counseling Center is accessible during regular business hours, Monday–Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. by calling 215-951-1355 and leaving a message. An after-hours telecounseling service is available Monday–Friday from 4:30 p.m.–8:30 a.m. and throughout the weekend by calling 215-951-1355 and pressing option #2. Same-day appointments are available to full time undergraduate students. Students can request a mental health consultation via Zoom (similar to our walk-in sessions) by calling 215-951-1355 and leaving a message or by emailing Joanne Dooley at email@example.com before 10 a.m. on weekdays.
Web access to library resources and services, including 24/7 research assistance from librarians via chat, remains available through Connelly Library’s website. Many publishers made their resources available for free for the remainder of the semester, which students can access through the library website. The library has been keeping student apprised of updates through social media, too. One such development—the University Archives’ COVID-19 Archive Project—is soliciting photos, videos, anecdotal stories, and screenshots to chronicle for future Explorers what is was like to live, work, and study during the pandemic.
From courses in Zumba, yoga, and core combat offered via Zoom, to students sharing home video workouts on social media with the #ExlporeYourFitness hashtag, the Department of Recreation continues to serve the La Salle community. In the spirit of competition, the department also organized a weeklong online scavenger hunt and five different e-gaming tournaments.
The De La Salle Institute concluded its virtual Explorer Cafés for Spring 2020 with well-attended presentations led by Dr. Mark Thomas, Ph.D. (April 8) and Dr. Christen Rexing, Ph.D., and Dr. Jason Diaz, Ph.D. (April 15). PowerPoint slides and other related materials are available through the Connelly Library.