TGIO (thank God it’s over)

first_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Thank God it’s over.Wildfires, record storms, murder hornets, police killings, poisonous politics, armed protests, never-ending elections, losing John Lewis and RBG, and a pandemic that sickened millions and killed more than 300,000 in the U.S. alone, not to mention the resultant reeling economy that has left many struggling.With this annus horribilis finally behind us, it’s apparent that this January won’t be one for resolutions but rather anti-resolutions: the things we’d rather not see or do ever again, thank you.Many of those center around those words we hope will fall permanently out of use: Zoom (as a verb, anyway). Social distance. Masking — especially “facemask haute couture,” as doctoral candidate Archana Basu, put it. The words “asynchronous,” “synchronous,” “hybrid,” and “flex” as modifiers for any form of teaching, if Jill Alys Radsken, associate director of communications for Harvard College, had her way.Jill Casey, who manages marketing and communications for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, has a simpler request. “After 2020, I never want to hear or say the word ‘unprecedented’ again,” she said.And Basu, a research scientist in epidemiology at the T.H. Chan School, added her own not-so-fond farewell to such alternative-office “venue choices” as “bedroom or living room,” as well as the semantics of COVID-protocol boundaries. “Do I live at work? Or work at home?”Looking ahead to what has to be a better year, some focused on the pandemic rituals they hope will depart with this sorry season. “Home-schooling three kids (part-time) while working (full-time),” has grown old for Brigid O’Rourke of the University’s Public Affairs and Communications Department. As for Michael Ricca, administrative coordinator for the deputy director’s office at the Harvard Art Museums: “I promise never again to engage in outdoor dining in the month of November” or to “sit at a table that’s surrounded by a haze of exhaust while outdoor dining.”As even bringing food home has become risky, groceries fit into many anti–resolutions. Ashley Bowditch Hawkins, executive assistant in the Department of Science dean’s office, wants to “not have to sanitize everything we bring in the door” in 2021. Shopping itself became a recurring theme. “I long to go shopping unfettered with all this extra covering,” said Peg Herlihy. The Astronomy Department administrator lists the requisite mask, gloves, hat with visor, and protective glasses that make her feel “like a bandit,” particularly when she then ventures out to find shelves as bare as if “a robbery has already taken place.”As for venturing out, travel — or the lack thereof — dominated lists. “I’m hoping to never have to cancel another much-looked forward to/needed vacation to somewhere new,” said Hawkins. That one hit home for Sarah Lyn Elwell, the FAS Division of Science’s director of research operations. “In 2020, I canceled family trips to Italy, Utah, Puerto Rico, and China,” said Elwell. A promise for the future? “We are looking forward to continuing to work toward our goal of visiting all seven continents before my boys graduate high school,” she said. More modestly, Ricca hopes to never again “consider a walk to the post office to be a ‘special day out.’”More expressed the fervent wish that the year’s losses will end with 2020. “I hope never to see another favorite restaurant or small business close,” said Hawkins, speaking for many. Basu also hit a universal theme when she turned serious, hoping for the end of worrying about loved ones far away, and the return of all those missed hugs. Perhaps most poignant, she wants an end to “having to say goodbye to ill or dying loved ones through video chats.”A good number gladly kissed the politics of this election year goodbye. Physics librarian Marina Werbeloff looks forward to “not seeing Trump’s name or face ever again, and not hearing his voice.” Robert N. Stavins, A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy and Economic Development at the Kennedy School, was more specific. “Once this year is over (or more precisely, once it is past noon on Jan. 20), I hope to never have to worry about what ex-President Trump says or does again.”Others vowed to take forward the lessons learned. “I will never again trust someone who voted for Trump,” said Liz Hoveland ’22, who is also determined to “never take my white privilege for granted again.”A few actually found something good to make permanent. “My feet have been the beneficiaries of working remotely during the pandemic,” said Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. “I have become accustomed to the comfort of bare feet and Birkenstocks. I find I can actually concentrate better on my work.” Her resolution? “Never again will I ruin a perfectly good day or a lovely evening event by wearing high heels!”Hoveland shared a similar goal. “I will never get my hair done at a salon again while I can do it just fine myself at home,” said the history and women, gender, and sexuality studies concentrator.On a related note, sweatpants were invoked in several resolutions, both pro and con. “I will never wear real pants again when it is socially acceptable to wear sweats,” swore Hoveland. Ricca, on the other hand, swore off the comfy athletic wear, at least “while attending a meeting.”In a nod to tradition, a few made anti–resolutions with an eye toward self-improvement — and a 2020 slant. John Connolly, associate director of marketing for the Harvard Art Museums, for example, promised to “stop using Zoom meetings as my own personal mirror to fix my hair.”For Archon Fung, Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government at the Kennedy School, the goal for 2021 is simple. “I will never watch ‘Tiger King’ again.”last_img read more

Saint Mary’s community helps meet each other’s needs with free store

first_imgIn the basement of Le Mans Hall, a small room lined with shelves offers the Saint Mary’s community an opportunity to participate in a model of finding things they need and passing along things they no longer use.“We have a free store that provides many things for students that they might be looking for, ranging from clothes and bedding to anything they might be looking for … that they don’t want to buy or can’t afford to buy,” senior Annie Maguire, the ministry assistant for Le Mans Hall, said.The free store is one of several resources on campus that students can utilize when they find themselves in need, she said. Another of these is Mother Pauline’s Pantry, although it has no affiliation with Campus Ministry as the free store does.“The free store is an initiative through Campus Ministry,” Maguire said. “Campus Ministry has run and operated the free store since its creation.”All functions of the free store are overseen by Regina Wilson, director of Campus Ministry, Maguire said. It is staffed by the ministry assistants from each of the residence halls.“It’s a really nice way we can share our resources as a community and look out for each other,” Maguire said.The free store has a variety of items donated by the Saint Mary’s community, including clothing, bedding, school supplies and dishes.“We want to take away any stigma that can come with not having enough funds to purchase your own clothes, your own binders, folders and materials for school,” Maguire said. “All these things are necessary as a student.”Maguire said the expenses associated with being a college student are already high without the cost of items that are available in the free store.“The mission is to … really emphasize how we can take care of each other as a community, not just in Le Mans, but uniting all the [dorm] communities together,” she said.The free store opened to students for the year about a month ago, Maguire said.“We decided we would find a clear schedule and try to get it out to students as soon as we could so that students would look at the schedule and plan in the days when they could come in,” she said.In the past, students have noted the free store seemed to be open at odd times of day, Maguire said, so the ministry assistants who run the store want to make sure it gets better advertisement this year.“Most students who come in are discovering the free store for the first time, but there are also some returners,” she said. “It’s always a joy to see people walking through the doors for the first time and understanding this radical model that is very different from our consumer culture where everything has to be bought and sold. The moment when a student finds out that they can just take something for free, their eyes light up and it brings a smile to their face, knowing that Saint Mary’s is supporting them in a way that they need.”Maguire said members of Saint Mary’s faculty and staff are also welcome to make donations to and browse the free store. Donation boxes are located outside the free store, and their contents are placed on the store’s shelves each time an ministry assistant opens up shop.“I think this is a hidden gem of Saint Mary’s that is unique to us,” Maguire said. “I don’t see this model embodied at other institutions, and I think it’s one thing that’s really special and speaks to our mission of really meeting the needs of students.”Tags: Campus Ministry, Community, free storelast_img read more