Notes from the desk: A roadmap for the summer

By Bochu Ding

SARAH FAGAN

You heard it here first: this is an unprecedented time.

Under normal circumstances, we would have packed up our belongings and departed Middlebury knowing that it would await us come fall. Our graduating seniors would have been seated on the grassy field — probably hungover — celebrating the culmination of their four years at Middlebury. We at The Campus would have said goodbye to our office in the Hepburn basement and begun our summer hiatus.

All of these things — and much, much more — that we once took for granted are now colored with uncertainty. And while the catchphrase “unprecedented time” has become hackneyed, our current predicament calls for transparency, information and connection more than ever before.

This is why The Campus is extending our coverage through the summer. Our goal is to investigate the questions that we’re asking as a community, whether they relate to the international students remaining on campus, the perceptions of stay-at-home orders in local communities or even who the commencement speaker will be for the class of 2020.

Although we will be reducing our weekly batch of 10–15 articles to 3–5 pieces, we will continue to ask the unresolved questions that hang in the air: How will the fall semester take shape in the face of Covid-19 uncertainties? What — and who — will the college prioritize as its financial burdens compound?  How will the economic downturn impact local businesses in Middlebury?

Our objective is also to remain as a forum — a shared digital space — for the community when we are scattered across the nation and around the world. We plan to continue the Off-Campus Project, our remote story-telling initiative, this summer, and invite you to participate in sharing a vignette or two of your life amid the pandemic.  Recently, we’ve partnered with the Engaged Listening Project to launch the Off-Campus Project podcast, a series exploring day-to-day life amid the pandemic. Our editors have several episodes planned for the summer, so we hope you will listen in.

Our work is both for and made possible by readers like yourself. As we plan for our coverage of the following months, please tell us what you want to see covered by dropping us a tip. We also hope you’ll continue to engage with our projects, such as our recent Covid-19 survey soliciting students’ perspectives on the spring semester, plans for the summer and expectations for the fall. We will be releasing the results of that survey later next week. You can also tell us what’s on your mind during this time by submitting an op-ed, whether it’s about the upcoming elections, remote-learning or mom’s banana bread.

Trying times call for trying new measures. As we all embark on an “unprecedented” summer, we at The Campus are looking forward to navigating these uncharted territories alongside you.

Bochu Ding ’21 is the editor in chief of The Campus.