A message to students from President Bruess

Sept. 9, 2020

Dear SNC students,

Welcome to Wednesday of week three. Did you know we have just 78 days until Thanksgiving? If you’re like me and so many others, you’re working hard to get us to that point without having to shut down campus, move to on-line learning, send you all home, or take other extreme measures to contain COVID-19 outbreaks—the kind wreaking havoc on many other colleges and universities across the country, some right here in Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, our SNC COVID-19 dashboard reveals an uptick this week in the number of cases on campus. I’m concerned. I hope you are too. If you’re not, you should be. A spike in cases means that if we don’t get the commitment of every one of you our plan and hope to continue with in-person learning for the next 78 days will not succeed.

Students, let me be clear: The vast majority of you make me darn proud as I see you putting others first, scrupulously observing our common-sense and very necessary guidelines. Thank you for not gathering in large groups, for wearing your masks, for watching your distance, and for washing your hands.

To the very small minority of you whose behavior gives me great concern, I need to be very clear: That behavior stops now. Perhaps you do not care as much as I do whether you stay or go, but I’m asking you to consider the wishes, and the health, of your classmates.

Seniors want to spend their last year as they always planned to: on campus. Our first-year students are still recovering from their own disappointment about having to go virtual the last few months of high school and thus missing the graduations and celebrations. They want to stay here. Hundreds upon hundreds of your classmates are likewise enjoying the freedom of living as young adults who are learning, studying, making friends and making their way in this awesome reality that is college. Your peers don’t want to see their own peers disappointing them by violating the simple rules.

The good news: What happens in the coming days and weeks is very much in your control. This next few weeks will prove pivotal if we’re to stay on campus or whether we will need to make a different plan. Believe me, I do not want to alter our plan. And I get it: All this masking and washing and distancing isn’t fun. But, just for the moment, this is the price we’re paying for freedom: freedom to come to college, freedom to be with our friends, freedom to care about each other, and freedom to be a member of a community that puts each other – and not ourselves – first.

Fellow Green Knights, if you are with me and all in on being one of the few colleges that are going to remain on campus and succeed at in-person learning this semester: I’d like to hear from you! Send me a one-sentence note that indicates your commitment. I’m very proud of every single one of you who is willing to be in this work. For those of you who are not in, I need you to reflect on why. And I need you to step up. We need you to recommit to each other and our beloved college. The next two weeks are key. Thank you for doing your part. We got this SNC!

President Bruess