Dear Western Family,
Of the many things that have surprised – and reassured – me in the past few weeks, the ways in which the Western community has come together on behalf of one another and in service to the greater good are by far the most inspiring. Recently, we launched the Student Emergency Fund, and in a matter of days, you have contributed more than $13,000 to support students who are experiencing unanticipated financial hardship. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your generosity and care for others.
We speak often of our commitment to inclusive success, and at extraordinary moments such as this, that drive has never been more relevant. This pandemic has touched every one of us, and while COVID-19 will be crushing to many, it may also remind us of the importance of community now that we’ve lost it so suddenly. We see this yearning for connection all around us as neighbors come forward to support local businesses, their employees, and one another.
As we get through the initial crisis response, our efforts are shifting to ensure that advising and mentoring services and personal connections with students are increased so that they don’t fall behind in their studies.
There is another area where we are asking our alumni community to mobilize with us. We are expediting the launch of a powerful new networking, mentoring, and support tool for alumni and students. WE Connect can help students and community members navigate uncertainty by establishing meaningful personal and professional connections. WE Connect allows alumni to serve as mentors to students in order to provide guidance and encouragement as they begin their job search. The platform also provides alumni with access to jobs posted by the Western community, affinity groups, and other resources.
Not only are we thinking about students about to enter a rapidly-changing employment landscape, but we’re also thinking about alumni who may be concerned about their own job security, and who may be seeking to expand their professional networks. If you are a Western graduate, I invite you to join in order to help us build this virtual community of support. You can learn more here: weconnect.wwu.edu. Look out for your invite to join on Friday, April 10.
During this challenging time, we can all use words of encouragement as we adapt to remote learning and working and social distancing practices that can have an isolating effect. Let’s continue to be present for one another during this stressful period. You can follow us on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page, and stay up to date on important news at Western’s coronavirus website.
We are deeply grateful for those who have already donated to the Student Emergency Fund. Without your generosity, many students would not receive the assistance they need during this crisis. Joining WE Connect is another way that those of you who are Western alumni can show your support and build community.
Your dedication and care have been an unwavering source of strength as we navigate through this difficult period. Thank you, and please be safe and healthy. I wish you and your loved ones well.
With deepest gratitude,