Dear Members of the UBC Community:
I hope that you and your loved ones are well and that you are safe and physically distancing.
Before I begin, I’d like to wish all of our students, both at UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver, all the best for their final exams.
I have a few items to update you on today. As always, you can find the latest information on the UBC website.
First, I have emailed our international students to provide them with information about supports from UBC during this time. To them, and to all students, you have my assurance that we are doing all we can to help you.
Second, short-term parking and parking permit fees have been waived for the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses until April 30.
I thank the UBC community for joining me earlier this week for a two-and-a-half hour conversation about COVID-19 at an extraordinary session of the Vancouver Senate.
The first virtual Senate meeting in the university’s history was very successful. Despite the serious nature of the conversation, I really appreciated the collaborative spirit during the dialogue. I look forward to having this dialogue with UBC Okanagan soon.
We are helping our community where we can and our community is in turn helping others.
Last week, I shared some stories about what UBC biomedical researchers are doing to combat COVID-19.
But UBC faculty in many other fields are also doing COVID-19 related research.
These researchers come from departments, faculties and schools, on both campuses. For example, Guy Dumont from Electrical and Computer Engineering and his team are using feedback to maximize population recovery rate while respecting healthcare capacity. Their research will have implications on how we recover from the present crisis and return to normality.
Our students are also doing their bit:
Nursing students have started a volunteer effort to help practicing nurses and doctors stay on the front lines by running basic errands including grocery shopping and pet care.
Law students working at the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic in the Downtown Eastside are continuing their vital work by phone.
Of course, there are many more stories like this and I’ll have more for you in the weeks ahead.
The care our community is showing is particularly inspiring as we look to Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi and, later this month, Ramadan.
It goes without saying that we have never experienced these important holidays under such circumstances. For some of us, accustomed to spending these holidays with family or friends, it will be a strange time.
I know that it’s difficult. The past month has brought many restrictions, many challenges, made harder by not knowing when it will end, and how our current reality will shape our futures.
But, like many of you, I draw comfort from the changing of the seasons, the welcome warmth in the air, and the spring flowers now blooming.
These are simple pleasures to enjoy responsibly in challenging times.
As Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth said in her address this week:
“We will succeed. And that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.”
I’d like to end with this virtual performance by Anican Yu of Schumann’s Traumerai as part of the #SongsofComfortproject. Anican studies with Terrence Dawson.
Presenting Anican Yu from the UBC School of Music performing Schumann’s Träumerai as part of the #SongsOfComfort project. He studies with Dr. Terrance Dawson.
Anican dedicates this song to all the health care workers fighting COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/JTvncX7fZ3
— Santa J. Ono (@ubcprez) March 30, 2020
I really hope that you and your loved ones get some much needed rest during this long weekend. Stay safe UBC.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor