Dear UWest Community–

We find ourselves weeks in to adapting to the greatest international pandemic we’ve ever faced in our lifetimes — and the Board of Trustees couldn’t be more humbled and honored to be facing it with you.

The conditions we’re operating in are unprecedented. We have stay at home orders. We have to personally adapt to working from home with children and elders and spaces that weren’t designed for our new needs. The way we provide for our basic needs is changing– from food to health care to practices of faith and other traditions– everything is different.

And at the same time, we are called to continue with our mission to provide a whole person education informed by Buddhist wisdom. We have a commitment to students and our greater community to offer a world class education, and in doing so, we have become a home to students from around the world.

The Board of Trustees sees and appreciates what you are doing to honor that commitment. You have pivoted to online course instruction. You are creating the safest, healthiest, most nurturing environment possible for students who still live on campus. You are doing this with great care and personal sacrifice because of your care and concern for our students, and because it is a visible act of living our values.

You are literally living our mission.

For our Students, we wish to acknowledge that many of you are unable to return home at this time — we are here for you, keeping campus open and responsive to your daily needs. For those who were able to return home, we want to stay connected with you — we are here for you. This is a time to ask for all the support you need for your well-being and learning. This is a time to be creative. Our new reality is full of opportunity to examine global systems, actors, resources, and responses. These systems, actors, resources, and responses are both failing and succeeding in various ways. What would be your leadership role? How would you apply your UWest training in business, psychology, teaching English, Buddhist Chaplaincy, and Buddhist scholarship to formulate a path forward?

To the Faculty, your scholarship and teaching are making a difference. You have the wisdom, insights, and experiences to cultivate and inspire a new generation of talented leaders. Please keep up your good work in guiding and shaping students’ opportunities for learning, growth, critical thinking, and skills development. Remote instruction and digital communication requires our own learning and growth, and we appreciate your willingness to pivot and adapt to these necessary methods.

To the Staff, we wish to say we stand by you and honor you. For those of you going to campus, to ensure a safe, healthy, and beautiful learning and living environment — you are truly essential to fulfill our commitment of student safety and wellbeing. Even in social distancing and sanitation/health precautions, you are an important human connection, and you are shaping lives and serving as guides. For those of you who are adapting to remote conditions and performing work at home, we appreciate your flexibility and generosity.

Every single one of you is literally living our mission. You are giving your best and your most in a time of crisis and uncertainty. You are being challenged by new obstacles that you have never had to navigate before. And you are doing it with generosity, grace, and deep care.

The Board of Trustees could not be more humbled, proud, and appreciative of your efforts. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Board Chair/Board officers, on behalf of Board of Trustees